Antique Coffee: Why PH Needs to Give Local Coffee Production a Chance to Thrive

Did you know that Filipinos consume 100,000 metric tons of coffee a year and drink almost as much coffee as the people of the United States and Brazil? However, the coffee production in the country remains relatively low and is unable to even meet local consumption demand. Isn’t it the best time for us to give chance to local coffee production and lessen our dependence to coffee importation?

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina from Pexels

One potential industry in Antique is coffee. Records of the Office of Provincial Agriculturist states that coffee in the Municipality of Sibalom is abundant in the upland adjacent barangays of Calooy, Tula-tula and Bulalacao, with about 113 hectares benefitting 212 marginalized farmers and indigenous peoples of Iraynon Bukidnon.

Their products are ROBUSTA green coffee beans, roasted beans and grinded coffee. Several attempts had been made to develop the coffee into a mature industry. One of which is the organization of Bulalacao-Calooy-Tulala Farmers Association, which aims to consolidate all coffee production of the three barangays so they can advocate for higher price. Through the support of the Local Government Unit of Sibalom, and DA through the bottoms’ up budgeting, a small coffee processing center was established in Barangay Calooy. Through the support, the farmers’ association was able to process green beans coffee to a roasted coffee or grinded coffee.

Presently, the production volume of coffee has so far decreased from the highest of 200 tons (before Yolanda) to 65 tons as of 2018. The roasted and grinded coffee on the other hand reached to only 180 kilos for 2018.The industry remained in its survival stage despite its high demands in the market, as it is beset by the following problems:

First, most of the coffee plantations aged 35 years old, hence are less productive, and needs rejuvenation, which means, some of the branches needs to be cut and cleaned, so they will again grow and bear more fruits.

Secondly, the processing center necessitates improvement that conforms to the BFAD licensing standards. The group also lacks the improved and gender friendly set of processing facilities such dehuller solar dryer, roaster, and vacuum sealer for packaging. Lastly, there is also a need to strengthen this group so they can properly manage the industry. There is a need to provide technical assistance in financial management and marketing.

Given the appropriate facilities and technical assistance, the organization will be able to produce quality roasted coffee beans that are in demand in the market especially in coffee shops in Antique, Iloilo and Manila. If needs of these micro farmers are aptly responded, this will provide adequate income to the upland families, hence increasing their income and improving their lives.

DSL allocated funds for the improvement of the coffee centers and provision of equipment such as: dehuller, coffee roaster, multi-purpose dryer, mini chain saw, vacuum sealer, creates, and green bags, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the Shared Services Facilities of the DTI.

So how can we help the local coffee industry thrive specially in these trying times? Simple. Instead of buying imported brands, why not try the local products like the Antique Coffee. Also, we can help raise awareness about the potential growth of the coffee industry in Calooy, Sibalom, Antique, and in other parts of the country that grows coffee as well.

Hashtags: #SustainablyGrown #SupportLocal #UplandFoffeeFarmersFromAntique

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