By Felino M. Santos
Few Filipino consumers are aware that the Mindanao region produces more than 70 percent of the country’s annual coffee output of about 98,000 metric tons.
Sultan Kudarat Province alone produced more than 19,000 metric tons (MT) last year, according to data compiled by the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The island’s main coffee production areas are in Central Mindanao, Davao City and Compostela Valley, as well as in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Coffee is an important global commodity and the Philippines is a coffee-drinking nation, with local demand growing about three percent annually.
Nikki M.Meru, USAID Media Liaison Officer wrote: “The industry has the potential for increasing livelihood opportunities for Mindanao’s farmers, including smallhold growers in conflict-affected areas.”
To boost the competitiveness of Mindanao’s coffee industry and to strengthen alliances between producers, processors and institutional buyers, Sultan Kudarat hosted the 1st Region 12 Coffee Congress last November, at the Provincial Capitol in Isulan.
The event was a collaborative effort of the SK Coffee Industry Development Council, Sen. Ninoy Aquino Coffee Industry Development Council, provincial government of Sultan Kudarat, and Region 12 offices of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and Technical Education Skills Development Authority, with support from USAID’s GEM Program.
USAID provides support to selected producer associations and other business support organizations in holding seminars, trade fairs, and other events that serve to strengthen Mindanao’s agricultural competitiveness and raise awareness of investment opportunities in the region, she said.