DA distributes 80,000 coffee seedlings to Kalinga farmers
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga — In a bid to revive the province’s dying coffee industry, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the region, in partnership with the Kalinga State University (KSU), is distributing 80,000 Robusta coffee seedlings to farmers.
Cesar Lagon of the Provincial Agriculturist Office during the Kalinga Provincial Coffee Council meeting said KSU, which was tapped in the production and distribution of seedlings, has tied-up with municipalities and recipient coffee farmers’ cooperatives and associations.
Also part of the efforts to save what used to be the province’s top cash-crop include distribution of free organic coffee fertilizer, lending of chainsaw machine to rejuvenate old coffee trees and continuing education of farmers on profitable coffee farming technology.
Meanwhile, Asst. Provincial Agriculturist Julie Aclam explained why Kalinga coffee, the once renowned coffee brand in the country is not anymore competitive in the market.
She primarily identified today’s massive shift in crop production from coffee to corn among farmers in the place. Obviously, farmers prefer to produce corn since this is harvested twice a year over coffee which is only harvested once. As a result, there is rapid conversion of coffee land into corn land, she said.
Another cause is the attitude of some coffee farmers who attend to their coffee plants only during harvest.
Kalinga’s about 7,000 hectares of coffee area is mostly situated in Tabuk City, Tanudan and Pinukpuk towns. Today, only about 6,000 hectares remain.
The Coffee Council calls on local government units to put priority on the move to revive the province’s coffee industry, which used to be a major source of income. **JDP/LL-PIA CAR, Kalinga