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DA, Nestlé Philippines agree to boost Robusta coffee farming in Mindanao

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Nestlé Philippines Inc. have partnered to implement a project aimed at enhancing the sustainability of Robusta coffee farming in Mindanao by improving the farmers’ access to farm inputs, training, and market opportunities.
In a statement on Friday, the DA said Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and Nestlé Philippines chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki signed on March 1 the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the Mindanao Robusta Coffee Project.
The Mindanao Robusta Coffee Project has the following components: integrated coffee nutrient management research for development; coffee productivity (fertilizer support); capacity building activities; the establishment of integrated coffee centers; and logistics and marketing.

The DA said the project will primarily benefit Mindanao Robusta coffee farmers who are practicing monocropping and intercropping in coconut areas and other diversified farming systems suitable for coffee production.

The Agriculture Department added that its offices, led by the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), and their regional office counterparts, will provide inputs, facilities, capacity-building activities, and marketing support, among others.

Nestlé will provide intensive technical assistance, collaborate with the concerned institutions, help ensure the farmers’ compliance with applicable quality standards, and serve as a ready market for the coffee produced by the local farmers.
“I thank everybody [involved], most especially Nestlé, for embarking on a program that we all know is very important to Filipino farmers and the country. All of us will work together as one, and I hope that this will be the start of a long activity that we shall be undertaking as far as the coffee industry is concerned,” said Panganiban.

“We are aligned with the DA in improving farmer productivity, profitability, and sustainability. We also believe that it is time to go beyond sustainability. This is why we are channeling efforts to ramp up farmers’ understanding and adoption of regenerative agriculture practices like composting, intercropping, cover cropping, and agroforestry. Doing these will enhance their livelihoods and resilience to the effects of climate change," said Marzouki.
With the project, both parties aim to enable coffee farmers to further increase their yields, improve the quality of their produce, and earn higher incomes.
The DA said the collaborative project is in line with the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2021–2025, which envisions a coffee industry that is cost-competitive, aligned with global quality standards, resilient, sustainable, and environment-friendly, and provides continuous benefits to farmers, processors, traders, manufacturers, and exporters.  — VBL, GMA Integrated News