Government to wipe out coffee bean imports by 2022

In Photo: Workers sort through green robusta coffee beans for defects that cannot be removed mechanically, at the Highlands Coffee processing plant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The government is targeting to increase the output of green coffee berries to at least 214,626 metric tons (MT) by 2022 to end the country’s reliance on imports and allow farmers to export coffee.

Under the Philippine Coffee Industry Road Map (PCIR) 2017-2022, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror, the target production would translate into a self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) of 160.16 percent. This means, that in five years, the Philippines would have surplus coffee.

“At the end of the target term in 2022, it is expected that the coffee growers have increased their average yield of 1 ton per hectare; supplied the needed volume of 214,626 MT with self-sufficiency level from 41.6 percent to 160.16 percent; and have increased farmers’ income and farm productivity,” the PCIR read.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez signed the PCIR in Malacañang, and endorsed it to President Duterte on March 7.

The government intends to expand coffee plantations to 199,240 hectares, from the current 124,106 hectares. The government would increase coffee plantations by 16,446 ha this year; 16,597 ha next year; 13,845 hectares in 2019; 13,983 hectares in 2020; 14,263 hectares in 2021; and 14,548 hectares in 2022.

In six years, the government eyes to increase coffee yield to 0.31 MT per hectares a this year, 0.33 MT per hectare next year, 0.40 MT per hectares in 2019, until it reaches an annual average yield of 1 MT per hectares by 2022.

To hike local coffee production, the government is planning to roll out the following interventions:

■ Establish the Philippine Coffee Council (PCC), and strengthen the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries-Coffee Industry Development Sub-Committee and Agricultural and Fishery Councils Sectoral Coffee Committees at all levels;

■  Identify, organize, capacitate coffee farmers, indigenous peoples groups and other coffee enthusiasts, and implement appropriate interventions;

■ Make available accessible credit facilities, guarantee funds and crop insurance for coffee farmers and cooperatives; and

■ Provide incentives for coffee-seedling propagators/coffee farm establishment (farmers, corporate nurseries, service providers).

To achieve the targets, education and training, as well as production/postharvest facilities, will be provided to coffee farmers and groups. The government will also expand the production of more expensive specialty coffee and the branding of locally produced coffee.

The envisioned PCC will guide and monitor the implementation of the road map. It will be led by the private sector, and will be supported by the government.

“The council, to be created at the national level, shall have membership from the regional and provincial coffee councils. It aims to unify the various coffee stakeholders to attain the goal of  inclusive growth, uplift the welfare and increase awareness on quality coffee among the country’s smallholder farmers, producers, processors, roasters and retailers, including their families,” the PCIR read.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s coffee production in 2015 reached 36,171 MT, translating into an SSR of  33.04 percent. The coffee SSR in 2015 was significantly lower than the 71.91 percent registered in 2014 and is the lowest since the 2012 SSR, pegged at 45.21 percent.

The PSA defines SSR as the extent to which a country’s local production of commodities is adequate enough to meet the demand of the whole population. “In 2015 the top three producing regions were concentrated in Mindanao namely, Davao region, Soccsksargen, and the ARMM. Collectively, they contribute 68 percent of the coffee produced in the whole Philippines,” the PCIR read.

“Soccsksargen accounted for 37 percent of total output in 2015, or 13,479 tons, of green coffee beans, followed by the Davao region, with 16 percent, or 5,840 MT, of green coffee beans, and then the ARMM, with 15 percent, or 5,263 MT,” the PCIR added.

Through the coffee road map, the government hopes to lift farmers out of poverty and increase employment in the coffee industry by 3 percent. “Exports remain as a vision in the future to increase the Philippine coffee footprint in the global market,” the PCIR read.


Image Credits: Bloomberg