Food and beverage giant Nestlé has remained optimistic about the continued growth of the Philippines coffee industry.
To support this optimism, Nestle also forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the provision of comprehensive training to hundreds of coffee farmers across the country.
In a briefing on Wednesday, Nestle Philippines Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki said the company will continue to prefer locally produced coffee despite the shortfall in supply.
“We want to buy as much coffee as we can,” Marzouki said. “We hope that coffee production will meet rising demands in coffee.”
He then said that the first quarter coffee production of the country is “very encouraging.”
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that while the total agricultural production went down during the first three months of the year, coffee registered 12.4 percent growth during the period.
This was after years of production decline, with locally grown coffee meeting only 19 percent of demand in 2019.
Under its partnership, TESDA and Nestlé Philippines seek to upskill workers and trainers in the agriculture sector through the TESDA registered Coffee Production Level II Program and Scholarship. This progressive Robusta coffee production training program will provide enterprise-based competency training in coffee farming to aspiring agripreneurs, particularly smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples.
“With this program, we will enable the farmers and our IP coffee growers to produce quality beans that are at par with the standards of Nestle Philippines. We will also be able to help them increase their yields and help them pursue a more sustainable livelihood,” said TESDA chief Secretary Isidro Lapeña. “This partnership will scale the impact of the work we do in TESDA for the farmers and IPs. We also commit our pool of highly-skilled trainors and TESDA facilities as additional learning sites to ensure that we can accommodate as many farmer-beneficiaries as possible,” he added.
As a start, TESDA allots 200 slots each for farmers in Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat, two of the biggest coffee-producing provinces in the Philippines.
Eventually, the training program will also be offered in Davao and Batangas. TESDA and Nestlé hope to nurture the next generation of coffee farmers in an effort to ensure food sufficiency in coffee. Currently, the average age of Filipino coffee farmers is 57 years old.