Cordillera launches first coffee festival
By DELIA BAGNI
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Benguet State University (BSU) in partnership with various government line agencies, local government units (LGU) and private sectors in the Cordillera launched the the first Coffee Festival at the BSU gymnasium last July 5.The government agencies included the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
BSU promotes the protection of the watersheds in the Cordillera while creating livelihood for the highland dwellers through coffee plantations called Arabica Coffee and Pine-based Agroforestry System.
Highland Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (HARRDEC) considered arabica coffee as one of the priority commodities for the Science and Technology Agenda for 2011-2016, and the consortium also chosen organic arabica coffee green beans as its product for promotion in 2012TechnoMart. TechnoMart helps bridge the gap between the sources of agro-based business to the communities to the appropriate market. Also, the program provides a dynamic venue where science and technology products are commercialized and coordinated with the entrepreneurs to gather feedbacks to improve these products.
The coffee crops are planted in agroforestry areas including reforestation sites. The National Greening Program of the DENR believes that coffee growing is a strategy to mitigate impacts of climate change in the Cordilleras and about 548 hectares of agroferestry and reforestation areas region-wide were planted with coffee seedlings .
Kalinga is known for its robusta coffee and in other lower elevations in the region while Benguet is known for arabica coffee.
According to Purificacion Molintas, Regional Director of Department of Tourism, all of the concern agencies and coffee growers should come up with only one brand of coffee to be known as the Cordillera coffee brand in the country and abroad.
Because of the Cordilleras is blessed with climate good for coffee, farmers grow organic coffee by default. With this the president of Philippine Coffee Board Pacita Juan introduced a school that specializes on coffee growing.
The school trains new scientists, researchers and coffee experts for the next generation to address the low yields in coffee growing, no proper post harvest practices of the farmers and less scientists and extension workers.
The conduct of Coffee FIESTA is to promote and highlight the best of coffee in the region to serve as an opening of various activities in a month long celebration for the silver anniversary of the Cordillera, and supporting the program of the Sectoral Committee on Economic Development Banner Project No.1 Boosting the Coffee Industry of the Cordilleras. # nordis.net