By Madelaine B. Miraflor
While it may still take many years before the Philippines can significantly increase its yield for coffee, the fact remains that the country is poised to match, if not surpass, the quality of coffee being produced in other parts of the world.
A data from Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) showed that if the Philippines cannot do the volume, it may have a chance in producing quality coffee for specialty markets.
Dave D’Haeze of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung who attended the 10th National Coffee Summit, agreed with this and told local farmers to value their soil and the wonderful climate.
“With climate change we must farm wisely. Your coffee can taste better than most because your soils are rich and fertile” he said.
D’Haize is currently based in Vietnam where yields are high, as they use a lot of agro-chemical fertilizers to increase yields to as much as 5000 kilos per hectare.
In terms of volume, Vietnam is the top two coffee producer in the world, beating Mexico and Indonesia, and Colombia.
In the Philippines, the average yield stood at a dismal rate of 700 kilos per hectare.
D’Haize said that proper husbandry or caring for the farm is key to a better harvest and for higher yields even with organic fertilizers.
“Clean your farms. The pests will not survive in a clean farm. You can save also on water with proper techniques of irrigation,” D’Haize said.
For his part, PCBI Director Joel Lumagbas agreed that the Philippines has “the ingredients for a good harvest”.
“What we are doing now is encouraging farmers to sell fresh red cherries to buyers who will do the primary processing,” he said.
Lumagbas has been going around Mindanao to encourage farmers to wait for fruits to ripen before harvesting them.