PH can become Southeast Asia coffee tiger, says renowned coffee scientist

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The Philippines already has what it takes to make it the next Southeast Asia coffee tiger – according to the assessment made by Dr. Dave D’Haeze, a coffee scientist based in Vietnam who has seen record yields in Fine Robustas.

Dr. D’Haeze, the regional manager of Hanns Neumann Foundation, noted the availability of land in the Philippines which are suitable for coffee farming.

“… there is still plenty of land in the Philippines, waiting for coffee farmers to come”

“For example, coconut plantations in southern Mindanao are perfectly suitable for intercropping with Robusta. Planting high-yield varieties and applying right agricultural methods can turn the country from a coffee importer into one of the larger-scale producers in South-East Asia,” states the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) report on the 23d International Coffee Conference.

Dr. D’Haeze noted the sensibility of public and private donors to start investing in the Philippines to boost productivity and triple the coffee area.

“Philippines has a potential of becoming the third coffee tiger in South-East Asia if international coffee platforms grant their support”

“Why don’t they do the same in the Philippines where over the last 26 years 4bln US$ has been spent by the national economy to import coffee which can actually be produced in the country, covering the domestic demand and creating thousands of jobs for local farmers?

Currently typical coffee trees in the Philippines are generally old and up to 5 meters tall requiring ladders for harvesting modest 0.3 Mt of green beans per ha. Training the farmers and supporting rejuvenation would totally change the situation,” according to the HRNS report.

Filipino scientists have already embarked on various coffee industry researches such as the coffee moisture meter to help farmers maintain the quality of their coffee yield.

Local entrepreneurs like the Giving Café are also serving locally-produced coffee. Bana’s Café of Sagada has even received international recognition from coffee connoisseurs in Paris.

The HRNS reports that the current situation of a global coffee supply shortage up to 30mln bags (60kg) anticipated by 2020 makes it timely for the Philippines to step up its coffee farm yield to claim its spot as the 3rd SEA tiger coffee industry.

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