Lawmaker pushes for development of PH coffee industry

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) - A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to create a national program that will help develop the country’s coffee industry.

Rep. Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA Party-list has filed House Bill 3598 or the “Coffee Industry Development Act.”

Under the proposed measure, a National Coffee Board will be established to “formulate necessary programs and projects for the advancement and industry-wide development of coffee in the Philippines.”

The bill is also expected to provide safeguard for the welfare of coffee farmers.

Garin pointed out that there is a high demand for locally-produced coffee.

“The Philippines produces around 30,000 metric tons of coffee per year but the local demand reaches 100,000 metric tons,” she said. “Local supply cannot fulfill local demand that we have to import coffee just to meet it.”

She added that immediate passage of the bill would help the coffee industry regain its losses due to the Taal Volcano eruption and the community lockdowns in the past six months.

The National Coffee Board will be spearheaded by the secretary of the Department of Agriculture as chairperson, with the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry as vice-chairperson.

Among the objectives of the board include providing technical assistance on planting and rehabilitation of farms; develop efficient and productive processing technologies for coffee beans; facilitate the establishment of credit programs for coffee farmers; conduct research and scientific studies; establish a germplasm collection and gene bank for coffee; and promote the coffee industry for domestic and export markets.

Once enacted into law, the national program will receive a P50 million funding.

Oct. 1 is International Coffee Day.