Ifugao holds Coffee Congress
LAGAWE, Ifugao (29 October) -- To boost the coffee industry and give inspiration and latest information to the coffee producers in the province, a one day provincial coffee congress was held here recently at the Lagawe Central School Conference Hall.
Attended by provincial and municipal officials together with the coffee growers and guest from the Aboitiz Company and Figaro, Nestle, Philippines, the congress proceeded with the theme "Paving the Way for an Alternative and Sustained Source of Livelihood for the Ifugao Farmers".
The coffee industry is one of the promising industries that the province expects to help uplift the living condition of its people and to spur economic development and progress by giving the people additional sources of income.
Coffee varieties such as the Arabica, robusta and excelsa thrive well in the upland municipalities of Ifugao but the people never had the opportunity to develop this into a big time industry due to lack of skill in processing them into saleable goods and the absence of markets for its raw product.
However, with the promises of the representatives of the Aboitiz Company and the Nestle, Philippines to help the coffee growers acquire the technology and knowledge needed for the processing of their products, the farmers showed a positive determination to venture into this industry.
The companies also promised to buy the products if they qualify under their standards and hopefully others will also be attracted to buy them and thus expand their markets.
Investment matching and coffee business options and opportunities was also explained by the representative of Nestle, Philippines to give the coffee growers a glimpse of the benefits and gains they can derive from the coffee industry.
Ifugao coffee production and development has undergone a series of rejuvenation in the past years started by the Central Cordillera Agricultural Program which was also continued by the Provincial Government.
There are already substantial coffee plantations in the different municipalities of the province which are still increasing and being strengthened manifesting the growing interest of the people to venture into this profitable industry.
What they only need now are markets for the raw products and skill for their processing into saleable and ready to be brewed commodity.
The Department of Trade and Industry and the Provincial Agriculture Office also vowed to extend their assistance for the farmers to realize their economic dreams.
Meanwhile, stakeholders of coffee production here participated in a recent Regional Coffee Congress held recently in Baguio City.
Sharon Sarol, the Private Secretary of Lagawe municipal government said the LGU is taking serious steps in promoting coffee as an additional source of income for the people in line with its being the One Town One Project (OTOP) of the municipality.
"Our technical staff from the Agriculture Department is conducting a Coffee Grower Survey in order for us to have a concrete data on the said project, " Sarol said adding that the LGU conducted a planning workshop on the project.
According to Sarol, the Philippines is one of the top 5 best producing coffee countries in the world. The province of Bukidnon and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are good sources of coffee.
"Good coffee should grow in good soil and in high altitude which fits the location of our region," Sarol said. Coffee are best grown in a 1,500 – 3,000 feet above sea level, she added.
The LGU selected Arabica to be planted by farmers not only in the far flung barangays here but also at the Poblacion.
Sarol, who has a passion for coffee, is all out in promoting this project as a source of income for her town mates. She informed that the LGU will provide the resources for the procurement of seedlings and it's only the time and commitment of the farmers that they needed.
"We are happy that the Department of Agriculture here is assisting us by providing 2,000 seedlings to start with and the Provincial Government is willing to provide the post harvest facilities, Sarol said. The LGU is also scouting for other possible source of funds. (PIA-Ifugao) [top]