By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – There are brighter prospects awaiting specialty coffee growers here as the domestic and global demand continues to flourish, following the increasing popularity of Mindanao coffee in the world market, according to Manny Quisol, business development adviser of ACDI/VOCA PhilCafe Project.
Speaking at “Wednesday’s at Habi at Kape,” Quisol said Mindanao has seen more coffee farmers producing specialty Arabica and fine Robusta amid calls to explore the premium niche market and seize the growing global trend high-quality coffee beans.
He said Davao, for instance, has a growing number of the third wave coffee shops serving Mindanao’s premium quality beans such as Coffee for Peace, Frog Kaffee and Roastery, Purge, and Mugshot that promote locally grown beans to customers.
“In Davao, specialty coffee is a flourishing industry. We have more third-wave coffee shops serving Mindanao coffee. What they serve mostly serve now are our specialty coffee beans,” he added.
He said among the areas that grow specialty beans are Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, Mt. Kalatungan and Kitanglad in Bukidnon, and provinces within the Mt. Apo range.
There is high acceptance among locals for Mindanao-grown specialty coffee, seeing an increasing demand for premium beans, most especially among millennial customers who have shown keen interest in supporting local brands and farmers, he said.
Quisol said, however, that specialty coffee production could not meet the rapidly increasing demand.
“With regards to acceptance, there is no problem. There is a huge market locally. It is the supply that has become a problem, the consistency in the volume. The production is a problem,” he said.
He added Mindanao specialty coffees are comparable with the ones produced by premium quality-growing African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya.
He said Mindanao has a vast area for coffee expansion.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed coffee production in Mindanao 2018 reached 49,124 metric tons, lower by 3.58-percent as compared with 50,948.64 MT in 2017.
The Soccsksargen region produced 19,901 MT of coffee, the highest among Mindanao’s six regions.
Quisol said of the total, only about 5-percent of them are considered specialty coffee.
He said they encourage farmers to engage in the production of premium quality beans as they are sold at a higher price compared to commercial grade.
According to him, specialty arabica coffee is sold for P500 to P600 per kilo compared to P100 per kilo for commercial grade while P180 per kilo for fine robusta compared to P70 per kilo for commercial grade.