Monday, September 24, 2012

Canadian firm ready to start coffee venture in Davao Region

CANADIAN company Rocky Mountain Arabica Coffee Company (RMACC) is planning to start its coffee venture this year in Davao Region that will benefit mostly the indigenous peoples (IPs) from the upland, an official from Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Friday last week. Melanie Provido, DA regional high-value commercial crops coordinator, said farmers will start planting Arabica coffee to 100 hectare-land in five key areas in Davao City. These coffee plantations are situated in the elevated terrains of the city where climate is just suitable to coffee farming like Sirib, Tamayong, Salaysay, Carmen and Sibulan. There will be a total of 100 hectares of land to be planted with coffee seedlings. Each area will comprise at least significant area for hosting coffee plantations. DA 11 will provide farmers with planting materials, including the seedlings. The department will give out at least 100,000 seedlings to farmers, translating to 1,000 seedlings per hectare. In return, the RMACC will buy the coffee produce of the IPs, Provido said. The firm will also set up the processing facilities for the production. She said they are eyeing to harvest at least two to three metric tons (MT) in average production yield per hectare. Previously, coffee growers in the region can only harvest around 400 kilograms per hectare. Data from DA showed there are a total of 20,265.26 MT in coffee production so far this year, which topped the other industrial crops. Abaca comes second highest with 13,544 MT, rubber with 6,622 MT, and cacao with 5,226 MT. Arabica coffee can be sold in the market at P120 a kilo, Provido said. Harvesting period can take place two to three years. "We'll make our own coffee brand for Arabica," she said. This undertaking is under President Benigno Aquino III's thrust on Public-Private Partnership program in a bid to revive the coffee industry in the country. Provido said coffee plantations will not bring about adverse effects to the environment since coffees are indigenous crops from the hinterlands. Meanwhile, DA is also pushing for civet coffee production, the world's famous most expensive coffee. "It's difficult to produce civet coffee by bulk," Provido said. However, DA does not recommend farmers to keep in captivity civet cats in order to come up with a mass produced civet coffee. According to Provido, what makes civet coffee famous for its distinct taste is the ability of the civet cats to single out the well-ripened coffee cherries. But when they are captured, it limits them in choosing which best cherries to feed on.