JUNE 27, 2018-DAVAO TARGETS 1,000-HA IN EXTRA LAND FOR COFFEE
THE government is hoping to upgrade the coffee bean crop by raising production in the Davao region and by improving the genetic quality of domestic output. Melani A. Provido, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region XI’s High Value Crops Development Program coordinator, said in a statement that the office hopes to add another 1,000 hectares (ha) planted to coffee, from the current 2,300 ha in the Davao Region due to the 2.4% annual increase in demand. Under the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022, the government plans to expand the area planted to coffee by 20,000 ha annually and increase production volume to 120,000-200,000 tons from 37,000 tons. The DA has so far rehabilitated 185,500 trees which are expected to bear larger berries after a year. Replanted trees, on the other hand, need another three to four years before flowering to produce the same results. DA Agriculturist John Paul Matuguinas recommends that farmers pick red berries for their fully-developed flavor instead of “strip picking” or picking all of the berries. Ms. Provido said that the DA will provide processing equipment such as pulper machines to ensure quality and reduce waste in picked berries. Cavite State University researchers in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology are also working to improve the genetic diversity of coffee beans which was found to be “low.” The study found that some distinct coffee varieties turned out to be genetically the same, while some were also almost indistinguishable even at molecular level, according to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development. The state universities of Benguet, Central Philippines and Mindanao also took part in the project which also seeks to conserve and manage the coffee’s genetic resources. The project will enable researchers to identify the genetic origins of the beans and “define possible parental linkages for breeding” through a database which can be used for breeding programs in the future.