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New high-yielding coffee available soon

May 8, 2010

April 28, 2010, 2:11pm

Filipino farmers stand to receive better and improved harvests as well as an improved livelihood—thanks to the introduction of seven high-yielding Robusta coffee selections. These seven coffee selections — tested at the Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration Farm in Tagum City, Davao and other locations in the country —produce good cup quality coffee, are resistant to pests and diseases, and well-adapted to local coffee-growing conditions.

The multi-location field trials of these seven Robusta selections were done from 1999 to 2006 at the NEDF and other locations as part of efforts by Nestlé to provide quality coffee seedlings and cuttings to Filipino farmers.

For decades, Nestlé has been in partnership with Filipino coffee farmers and helping them find ways—from providing quality coffee seedlings, to new technologies, to modern farming practices—of improving the quality and quantity of their coffee harvests. This has resulted in a better livelihood for some 30,000 Filipino coffee farmers and their families.

There were initially 40 Robusta coffee collections/entries in NEDF and from there, the Nestlé agronomists selected 20 promising selections. These 20 selections were further evaluated at the NEDF using several agronomic and quality parameters that include mortality, pest incidence, seed weight, and average yield per harvest year. From the 20 selections, the Nestlé agronomists recommended 7 Robusta selections which were approved by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC). These will be introduced to coffee farmers later in the year or early next year, 2011.

“The NEDF, through careful and meticulous testing and study these past 7 years, has chosen 7 Robusta coffee selections that were able to meet our strict qualifications. Using the proper coffee planting methods and techniques, these selections can potentially give much higher yield that is approximately ten times higher than current national average yield of 380 kg per hectare,” says Nestlé Agronomist Dr. Jose Reaño.

Moreover, according to Nestlé Agricultural Services head Arthur Baria, the seven high yielding and good quality coffee selections chosen and grown at the NEDF have already been approved last November 2009 by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture.

These newly approved Robusta selections will provide coffee farmers more choices in the best coffee crops they can use, all with very good genetic potential.

Proof of quality

Coffee seedlings grown and tested at the NEDF have already proven their high quality and high yield in the past. Prior to the seven coffee selections chosen, there were also previous coffee selections grown commercially at the Quiño farm with technical assistance from NEDF used at the Quiño Farm, a Nescafe demonstration coffee farm at Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon. After planting the recommended Robusta selections, the Quiño Farm obtained high yield record of 3.2 metric tons per hectare.

The yield of the Quiño Farm was higher by about 10 times the local average of 0.38 metric ton or 380 kg per hectare.

“The yield of the Quiño Farm is the best proof of the quality of our Robusta coffee planting materials being produced in NEDF. We are anticipating even better results once we use the seven new high-yielding and high-quality coffee seedlings we have developed,” says Baria.

The NEDF is also about to start introducing cell-cultured coffee. This method aims to produce high-quality Robusta coffee seedlings for farmers and growers through mass propagation using the somatic embryogenesis technique.

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