DA-RFU-CAR conducts coffee rejuvenation and composting training
by Alice Tabuno
La Trinidad (19 February) -- Arabica growers in this Benguet town were specially trained last February 12 on "Rejuvenation Techniques on Arabica Coffee and Composting Methods" at Sitio Balangbang, Beckel.
The training was conducted by the Cordillera Integrated Agriculture Research Center (CIARC), the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PMED) and the GMA High Value Commercial Crops (HVCC) sector of the DA-RFU-CAR.
The DA prioritized this commodity under the High Value Commercial Crops Program due to its investment bankability in the region.
According to Mr. Andrew Cawa, President and organizer of the Balangbang Coffee Growers Association (BACOGA), under the Barangay Agriculture and Fishery Council ;Arabica coffee is now in demand.
He revealed that coffee enthusiasts and traders from the USA have posted their orders to import Arabica coffee beans; thus the need for the association members to double their coffee production to be able to meet the requirement needed by these foreign investors.
Cawa said the demand will be met if members will plant new coffee seedlings and rejuvenate the old trees or on productive plants.
Aside from Arabica Coffee, Balangbang is also into potted flowers production; cutflowers, vegetables such as broccoli; petchay, Baguio beans and sayote.
Cawa further said their sayote production is under the sayote association in the area and being brought directly from the farm, which demanded a higher and stable price of the commodity.
During the program, Dr. Magdalena Wanawan, Chief of the CIARC brought kilos of vermiculture compost to show coffee farmers the importance and benefits of using organic fertilizer.
Vermiculture is the process of using earthworms to decompose organic materials into usable vermicompost or worm casting.
Dr. Wanawan added that vermiculture combats environmental stress since earthworms consume huge quantities of decomposed litter, manure and other organic matters deposited in the soil.
She further said that earthworms play an important role in the food chain and are detectives for soil pollutants.
During the training, Mr. Renato Dingwas, a farmer entrepreneur demonstrated the way to compost biodegradable waste materials to produce organic fertilizer.
Mr. Dingwas had been a resource person of DA whenever the department goes province wide to conduct trainings.
According to Mr. Dingwas, a good compost will consist of banana stalks, leaves and of peelings which provides moisture to the compost; sunflower leaves; vegetables by-products, kitchen refuse alnus leaves which gives fiber and nitrogen to the soil, grasses and weeds which are easy to decay,water,garden soil and earthworms (vermi) if available.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Susan D. Balanza, Chief of the PMED said Balangbang is a good pilot area for organically grown coffee because coffee planters are clustered in the area.
Balanza said coffee production will give extra income to coffee growers. She likewise revealed that the Regional Development Council (RDC) headed by the National Economic and Development (NEDA) gave funding to DA RFU CAR for Arabica coffee production.
Aside from vermi-composting, a grass shredder worth P 42,000.00 was awarded to BACOGA to hasten composting procedures.
Balanza said other equipments such as coffee hullers will follow if their project will be maintained and succeed.
In the meantime, Leo Balagot, a coffee expert from Bureau of Plant Industry (BNCRDC-BPI) conducted actual demonstration on how to rejuvenate old coffee trees in the area and to sow new coffee seeds for better growth and expansion of their coffee production project.
Balanza added that interested coffee growers can come to the regional office for assistance. (DA) [top]