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With a complete and credible production data, the region will be able to achieve its coffee production target by 2022. This was emphasized by Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director (RED), Narciso Edillo in a message that was read by Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Operations and Extension Danilo Daguio during the opening of the 1st La Trinidad Coffee Festival in La Trinidad, Benguet on February 27, 2018.

RED Edillo cited the production report submitted to the DA - Regional Field Office where there are 301 coffee farmers that produce 55.7 MT of coffee from a total of 47, 898 coffee bearing trees.

The target to be self-sufficient by 2022 is to increase yield of green coffee beans from 0.3 MT per hectare to 1 MT per hectare; and, production by 5% per annum. This is indicated in the 2017-2022 Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap that was signed by DA Secretary Piñol and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, and witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 7, 2017 in Malacañang.

With that, RED Edillo challenged the capital town of Benguet to be the first to come up with a complete master list of coffee farmers and processors in the municipality.

He also assured the participants that the DA will continuously be their partner in reaching their goals for the coffee industry.

For his part, RTD Daguio also informed the participants about the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) which is funded by the World Bank. He also enumerated the existing projects of PRDP particularly for coffee such as Farm to Market Road in Kapangan and in Atok; and an enterprise component that involves establishment of coffee consolidation and marketing center that will be constructed at the Provincial LGU in Wangal. Also, 30 Million fund was downloaded to La Trinidad MLGU for the improvement of the La Trinidad Trading Post which will be called La Trinidad Community Business Center to serve as an outlet for coffee in the municipality.

RTD Daguio commended the collaboration between regional line agencies and local government units (LGUs) relative to coffee production and development which is the flagship commodity of the region. He encouraged them to submit proposals to PRDP as many as they can as long as the LGU will be able to provide its counterpart.

With the theme “Brewing unity through Coffee,” the activity aimed to serve as an avenue to link coffee producers, buyers, and consumers to contribute their best in improving the local coffee production and processing in La Trinidad.// Karen T. Gawigawen