By Nikka Garriga QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allotted some 86,000 hectares of land in a move to boost local coffee production. The selected upland areas will be developed into coffee plantations under the food security objective of the National Greening Program (NGP). Of the total hectares allotted, around 25,000 are located in the Cordillera Administrative Region; 12,000 in Cagayan Valley; and 10,000 hectares in Central Mindanao. The remaining areas have been distributed in the regions of Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Davao, Bicol, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao. “The NGP is not solely a reforestation project. It is also conceived to boost food production, and coffee is one crop that we know we can be self sufficient by putting more government inputs to local coffee farming through the National Convergence Initiative (NCI),” Paje said. The NCI is a complementary mechanism that combines DENR’s resources and expertise with those of Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform to achieve sustainable rural growth. The project aims to enable local farmers to turn high-value crops like coffee and eventually void of the need to import coffee beans, such as from Indonesia and Vietnam, to meet the local demand. The Philippines was considered the fourth largest coffee-producing nation some 200 years ago. In an article published at the Bureau of Agricultural Research Research and Development Digest, two of our prevalent varieties of coffee include the arabica and robusta varieties. It also noted that the country is also among the few countries in the world where these coffee varieties, along with excelsa and liberica, exist. However, coffee plantations in the country have already decreased from 149,657 hectares to 138,830 or an average of 1 percent reduction a year. The Philippines now account to only 0.12 percent of the world’s coffee supply.