The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) said it is currently conducting a study to identify strategic areas in the country that are suitable for coffee and cacao production.
The study titled “Land Resources Evaluation and Assessment of Strategic Production Areas for Coffee and Cacao Project,” will determine the suitability of areas in terms of soil quality and climate.
“There is a need to evaluate the environment in which farmers are planting crops, particularly coffee, to take advantage of the increasing demand for it,” BSWM Assistant Director Sonia Salguerro said in a presentation.
Salguerro said the project started in February and will be completed in 18 months. Project sites are in 11 provinces in Luzon, four provinces in the Visayas and 14 areas in Mindanao.
She said the project aims to identify and characterize strategic areas for cacao and coffee production, determine fertility status of soil in identified production areas, and collate and analyze available climatic and hydrolic data to determine potential areas and its climatic hazards.
Other objectives of the study include the identification of specific soil land limitations and management option for sustainable production, integration and evaluation of the suitability of land units for coffee and cacao production, and identification of suitable areas for other high value commodities.
After the BSWM’s evaluation, Salguerro said the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will produce digital maps on soil- or land-management unit detailing soil characteristics, such as slope, erosion, flooding, soil depth, texture and elevation.
“Those who are interested to plant cacao or coffee, or expand their production areas can take advantage of this output after 18 months,” she said.
The project is being implemented by the BSWM, together with the DA’s High Value Crops Development Program, Philippine Council on Agriculture and Fisheries Committee on Commercial Crops, DA regional field officers and local government units.
Last year data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that coffee output declined by 4.12 percent to 72,340 metric tons (MT), from 75,454 MT in 2014.
PSA data also showed that the country’s cacao production in 2014 went up by 11.32 percent to 5,427.66 MT, from 4,875.82 MT in 2013.