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Batangas, Cavite coffee farms stand to lose P1.2B due to Taal Volcano eruption

The coffee industry in Batangas and Cavite popular for the Liberica or “barako” variety stands to lose as high as P1.2 billion due to the Taal Volcano’s eruption, the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) said Wednesday.

At a press conference in Makati City, PCBI director Rene Tongson said damage to coffee crops in the two provinces was pegged at P600 million.

Potential revenue losses, however, could reach as high as P1.2 billion since the same cost of losses from the Taal Volcano eruption will be carried over next year as an unrealized revenue.

“Ang mawawala ngayon is next year ‘yan na hindi natin mukukuha,” Tongson said.

The PCBI director noted that it will take two years before the industry can recover from the calamity.

Batangas and Cavite account for 10% to 15% or 5,000 metric tons of the country’s total coffee production.

The PCBI also emphasized that the Philippines is one of the four countries that produces the very rare Liberica variety.

An estimated 755 hectares of land dedicated to coffee were destroyed in coffee-growing towns situated within the 16-kilometer radius of Taal Volcano such as Ibaan, Lemery, San Jose, and Tanauan.

Apart from revenue losses, the price of the barako variety could spike due to the supply cut, PCBI director Guillermo Luz said.

Despite the damage and the effects of the eruption to the industry, the PCBI believes that the Batangas and Cavite’s coffee sector can recover with the support of the government, private sector, and other relevant organizations.

“I like to stress that we got a crisis but it’s a unique opportunity. We’ve got a bean that is associated with the Philippines, barako,” Luz said.

“Philippine barako is prized as a specialty coffee. We know that we’ve taken a hit from Taal but we have a plan to recover and then expand the production to diversify the production areas,” he said.

"The strategy is making sure that we get our hands on the remaining barako," Luz emphasized.

“There’s still about six percent of it, we estimate that’s left. We will set aside a third of that for converting to seeds. We will plant those seeds not only in Taal area... but we will plant them to other areas around the country where we can grow,” he added. — MDM, GMA News