The improving condition of the tourism industry is also benefiting those in the different stages of the coffee industry here, from production to brewing. Councilor Belmer Elis, chairman of the municipal council’s Committee on Tourism, in an interview on the sidelines of the opening of the 7th Coffee Festival on Wednesday, said there are now
80 coffee shops on top of the restaurants that also serve coffee in this capital town. Aside from the locals who are fond of drinking coffee, he said it is always part of the tourists’ order whenever they go to restaurants thus encouraging the opening of more coffee shops.

This development, means more opportunities for the coffee produced by local farmers he said. Elis, however, emphasized that while there is a high demand for coffee in the town alone, there are only about 785 coffee farmers in seven of the 16 villages. A survey conducted by the local government shows that there are 99,000 fruit-bearing trees in the municipality, with an average of half a kilogram per tree production, insufficient to meet the demand.

Juliet Lucas, Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director, in her message during the program, said that a person averages three cups of coffee per day. To meet the annual coffee cup requirement of a person, there must be at least 12 trees with a minimum of half kilogram production, she said. Lucas also said that while there is no data to back her statement, generally, Filipinos are big coffee drinkers and only 15 percent of the country’s demand is produced locally. “There is high demand for coffee especially with more coffee shops opening so we hope that everybody will plant a coffee tree so that we will have more production,” she added.

Nida Organo, municipal agriculture officer of this capital town added that the coffee festival aims to strengthen the
collaboration and linkage of all stakeholders in the industry, from production to cup, which will allow all of them to
determine and address the needs of each other. “Linking all layers of the value chain — from production, processing, marketing, and brewing up to the cup to collaborate to know each other’s needs and make the industry succeed in its goal of providing food security under the coffee roadmap of the country is the focus of the activity,” she said.

Organo said that their dream is to meet the challenges in agriculture and increase the productivity of every existing
coffee tree. She added that in partnership with Benguet State University, they hope to conduct research on how to
increase productivity and make coffee as an additional source of income and for environmental protection.

Hilda Austria/PNA

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