9-month coffee output surges to 4-year high

9-month coffee output surges to 4-year high

More than a year after the eruption of Taal Volcano which affected major coffee-producing areas in Calabarzon, the sector is now showing signs of recovery based on the latest data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed that coffee production in January to September rose to a four-year high. Nine-month output went up by 6.5 percent to 30,720 metric tons (MT), from 28,850 MT recorded a year ago.

Historical PSA data showed that this is the highest coffee production for the January-to-September period in the past four years.

Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) President Pacita U. Juan attributed the increase to better farm management practices adopted by farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since the farmers were under lockdown, they had more time to take care of their coffee plants. They had time to do pruning and other measures. The pandemic made the farmers go back to their farms and take care of the plants,” Juan told the BusinessMirror in an interview.

Juan added that farmers in Batangas that were affected by Taal Volcano last year have started to recover. Last year, the PCBI said it will start planting barako coffee in other areas in Visayas and Mindanao to preserve the heirloom variety amid the threat of Taal Volcano to traditional growing areas in Cavite and Batangas.

Some of the areas initially identified by the group as suitable for growing barako coffee include Bataan, Bohol and Basilan.

PCBI estimated that coffee farmers in Cavite and Batangas lost at least P600 million in revenues and this could even go up to P1.2 billion as 40 percent of their annual output of 5,000 metric tons in green coffee beans were damaged by Taal Volcano.

Despite the recovery in output this year, the average farm-gate price of coffee during the reference period declined by 3.5 percent to P48.91 per kilogram from P50.71 per kg last year.

A separate PSA report, which was released recently, showed that the country’s coffee self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) last year declined to 26.8 percent—the lowest level in history—due to higher imports.                                                         

The PSA defines SSR as the “magnitude of production in relation to domestic utilization.”

Image courtesy of Bloomberg

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