By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Maramag, BUKIDNON — Northern Mindanao, which produces a significant portion of the country’s total coffee output, is banking on the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the Department of Agriculture (DA) may get a budget that is “10 times bigger” for next year.
On the sidelines of Nestle’s coffee buying activity recently held here, Carlota Madriaga, DA’s OIC Regional Technical Director in Region 10, told reporters that the success of the implementation of the country’s Coffee Roadmap highly depends on the financial support that it will receive from the government.
But she is more hopeful now, especially that DA may get a bigger budget for next year. This could end years of sluggish output for this particular high value crop, she said.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol just recently instructed all DA’s attached agencies and regional offices to submit an updated financial plan for 2020.
This was after Duterte told him during last week’s Cabinet meeting that he must submit an updated, expanded budget proposal for next year in order to boost the country’s food production.
Madriaga with other DA officials recently visited one of Nestlé’s coffee buying stations here in Maramag, Bukidnon.
The activity, led by several Nestle officials, aims to demonstrate solidarity and support for coffee farmers during the culmination of the coffee production cycle in the country – the buying season – when farmers receive the rewards of their hard labor.
Nestle Philippines is currently the largest buyer of locally produced coffee in the country, buying as much as 65 percent of robusta coffee production across different regions.
It is also the only company that manufactures the commodity here. Its Nescafe plant is located in Cagayan de Oro.
Madriaga emphasized that out of five coffee producing region in the country, four are in Mindanao. Of this, Northern Mindanao has a share of 10 percent of the total coffee production area.
“Is it just right that Nestle made Mindanao the center of its coffee buying activities and manufacturing operations,” Madriaga said.
Under the Philippine government’s 2017 to 2022 Coffee Roadmap, the government aims to boost the yield per hectare from 230 kilograms per hectare to 1 metric ton (MT) per hectare.
Northern Mindanao particularly produces only 2,000 MT of coffee per year, while its production area stands at 11,000 hectares, based on a data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Madriaga said the production area for coffee should go up to 15,000 hectares by 2022, according to the roadmap. For the entire country, it is much bigger at 26,000 hectares by 2022.
“We could achieve this In less than three years if additional budget is given to us,” Madriaga said.