Agriculture Department encourages farmers to plant coffee

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) — The Department of Agriculture wants Filipino farmers to take up coffee farming.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Friday revealed his department's goal to make the Philippines self-sufficient in coffee by 2022.

"The biggest challenge actually in the coffee industry is to convince people to plant coffee again... In the past walang [there was no] marketing linkage," Piñol told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"Filipino farmers could plant almost everything. We have..fertile land in this country, we have ideal climate. But... when the farmer feels that he does not make money out of what he's doing, he will not plant," he added.

Pinol pegged the Philippines as being able to produce only about 10 percent of the coffee it consumes.

A 2015 study by Kantar Worldpanel characterized coffee as a "go-to" drink for Filipinos, who spent an average of P22 per shopping trip on coffee products.

 

Piñol says coffee is not the only product the Philippines largely imports. He said the country still imports milk, peanuts, and even fish.

"Did you know that we only produce 1.8 percent of our national dairy requirement? 98.2 percent is imported," said Piñol.

The Department of Trade and Industry lists Central Mindanao, Davao, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as the top producers of coffee.

Related: The untold heritage of Sulu's fascinating coffee culture

"Of course, we might miss the (100 percent self-sufficiency) target but at least we have a target," said Piñol.