By Estrella Z. Gallardo
A Coffee FIESTA (Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda) was held on August 22-23, 2019 at the Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) Digos City, Davao del Sur. It is organized by PCAARRD’s Consortium, the Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC).
Coffee, which is one of the Philippines’ major commodities, is recording declining production. To address the declining production and meet consumer demand, the country is turning to imports.
However, instead of imports, the country should strive for increased production by empowering farmers with technologies developed from research and development (R&D) initiatives.
This was expressed by Ms. Marita A. Carlos, Director of the Applied Communication Division of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) during the event on behalf of PCAARRD’s Acting Executive Director, Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora.
Davao region being the 2nd largest producer of coffee in the country, is the fitting venue of the Coffee FIESTA. In the first quarter of this year, it produced 2.41 thousand metric tons (MT) after SOCCKSARGEN or Region 12, which recorded 5.43 thousand MT.
The Coffee FIESTA highlights technologies developed by SPAMAST and PCAARRD for coffee farmers in the region. These technologies include the developed equipment of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PHilMech) for coffee harvest, postharvest, and processing to ensure quality and efficiency; results of the study, “Varietal Study of Arabica Coffee in Mt. Apo Highland” of SPAMAST; and the collaboration of coffee farmer-producers and the academe.
According to Carlos, PCAARRD has been investing ₱83 million in coffee R&D since 2011. This investment is aligned with the Coffee Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) of the Council, which aims to increase coffee productivity from 0.3 to 2.1 mt/ha in 2022 as well as improve quality of green coffee beans to Grade 1 for local and export market.
“Attaining Grade 1 green coffee beans require 100% adoption of postharvest technologies by our local farmers. This is why technology promotion, like today’s FIESTA, is conducted by R&D institutions,” said Carlos.
FIESTA is a technology promotion initiative of DOST-PCAARRD. It aims to link farmers, fisherfolk, processors, distributors, and consumers in a thriving agribusiness environment propelled by interaction and interdependence (PPCI).