BENGUET – Farmer groups here recently received machineries and hauling trucks for their Enterprise subproject under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in a bid to boost the coffee industry in the province.

75 units of coffee depulper were given to the 12 Proponent Groups of the Benguet Arabica Coffee Enterprise. Two units of hauling trucks (2 tons and 5 tons) were also turned over for the operation of the Enterprise.

Proposed by 12 farmer groups from the different coffee producing municipalities in Benguet, the Enterprise intends to consolidate and process quality coffee green beans.

Jocelyn Galunza, Senior Agriculturist from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist explained that it is only a partial turnover since the other items are yet to be acquired due to procurement issues. Regardless of which, members of the farmer groups were very thankful for the machineries that were turned over to them.

“We have been longing for these – for one farmer to have their own depulper so that they can process their coffee berries upon harvest,” said Arthur Shontogan of La Trinidad Arabica Coffee Producers Association (LATACPA).

DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Dr. Cameron P. Odsey urged Benguet coffee farmers to engage themselves in the planning and implementation processes introduced by the PRDP to become competitive in handling their Enterprise subproject.

“Let us prove to the government that this Enterprise will benefit our farmers for the improvement of their living standards,” Odsey said during the turnover ceremony held on December 28, 2018.

He added that coffee in CAR has a big potential and it is even recognized as one of the best in the world. However, the production and quality of coffee in CAR still needs to be improved.

“Our present production is 300 grams per coffee tree and we are targeting one kilogram per tree per harvest per year in our coffee roadmap. What we can do is to encourage farmers to plant and maintain at least 10 trees to have a harvest of one kilogram per tree and take steps to achieve quality coffee,” he continued.

Oliver Oliem, Chairman of the Cordillera Regional Coffee Council and the Manager of Atok Arabica Coffee Growers Marketing Cooperative (ACOGMAC), an affiliate PG of the Enterprise said that the Coffee Road Map was considered in the preparation of the Enterprise’s business plan.

“All the equipment and facilities we requested for this Enterprise were planned in relation to our Coffee Road Map,” he said.

Leo Tibangay, Manager of Kibungan Arabica Coffee Grower Multi-purpose Cooperative (KACGMPC) which is the lead proponent for the Enterprise subproject said in his response that they will continue to encourage more farmers to produce quality coffee harvest and advocate Good Agricultural Practices to better manage their production.### Elvy Taquio, DA-PRDP RPCO-CAR InfoACE Unit