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Bohol coffee farmers are first to benefit from new program

March 19, 2010


November 13, 2009, 2:12pm

Bohol recently became the first coffee-producing area in the country to receive the fruits of the partnership between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (NPI), makers of the country’s most popular coffee brand, Nescafe.

“Because of our partnership with Nestlé, there is hope in coffee,” said Agriculture Sec. Arthur C. Yap during the DA and NPI’s visit to Bohol.

The DA and the country’s leading nutrition, health, and wellness company had earlier committed to helping accelerate the growth of the local coffee farming industry through a memorandum of agreement. Here, both organizations have sworn to undertake “a joint technical and commercial cooperation and scientific exchange program that encompasses projects for the development of the coffee industry.”

One of the first realizations of this commitment is the establishment of the Bohol Coffee Development Program in Carmen, Bohol last November 7.

Under the said program, Bohol coffee farmers will receive free technical assistance and training on robusta at the Nestlé Experimental & Demonstration Farm (NEDF) in Davao. Among the four coffee varieties locally available, the highest demand comes from robusta which covers over 90% of total yield. Robusta is also the key ingredient found in most commercially-available coffees in the Philippines.

Apart from this, the agreement also specifies the distribution of coffee seedlings that will subsequently produce hundreds of coffee plants in the region in the near future.

The DA and NPI Bohol visit, in fact, culminated in the distribution of coffee seedlings to Bohol farmers. By the end of the year, an estimated 15,000 coffee seedlings will be distributed to Bohol farmers.

Apart from these, NPI has likewise committed to the establishment of a mother plant garden which will serve as a nursery for local coffee seedlings and additional coffee buying stations in the area.

“Farmers no longer need to worry about lacking buyers for their coffee because organizations such as Nestlé are here to help them,” added Sec. Yap.

Similar programs that will see the “joint development of green coffee production and marketing, expansion/development of areas for new coffee plantings, rehabilitation of coffee farms, establishment of coffee gardens and nurseries, and tissue culture for somatic embryogenesis” will also be implemented in other coffee-producing areas in the country as part of the MOA.

NPI Senior Vice President and Corporate Affairs Head Edith De Leon, meanwhile, said that they would like to make Bohol one of the models of coffee farming in the country.

“Based on our technical assessments, Bohol is an ideal place for coffee farming. Together with the DA, we have selected 7 towns in Bohol namely Batuan, Bilar, Carmen, Hajira, Mabini, Pilar, and Sierra Bulones,” according to her.

She adds, “And in the long term, Nestlé hopes to make the Philippines one of the top coffee-producing countries in the world”.

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