Rejuvenation project brings optimism to coffee farmers

Asipulo, Ifugao - For the coffee farmers of Asipulo, Ifugao, rejuvenation is a leap of faith. With coffee as one of their sources of income, cutting up the stems of old coffee trees will mean they have to wait for years to reap its benefits. It is also costly and time consuming.

Ang pag-rejuvenate kasi nangangailangan ng pondo at oras lalo na at may iba pang tinatanim ang ating mga kasamang magsasaka,” coffee farmer Ernesto Bistol said.

Bistol is one of the farmers in Asipulo, Ifugao who started rejuvenating their coffee trees in 2019. Rejuvenation, according to the Department of Agriculture, is cutting the vertical stems of old trees to induce growth of new sprouts. This process is considered by the agency as more productive than replanting trees.

Boosting income of coffee farmers

According to Alfred Escaño, program officer of the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), the rejuvenation aims to increase the income of coffee farmers beyond the poverty threshold.

Approximately, ang kita ng mga farmers natin sa combination ng kape at iba pang cash crops ay nasa PHP 45,000 hanggang PHP 95,000 kada taon. Nais nating tumaas ito mula PHP 90,000 hanggang PHP 140,000,” he said.

Many coffee experts, including Arabica Q grader and trainer, Jennifer Rimando, confirm that rejuvenation can boost production of green beans by 100% while lessening the cost of labor by 50%.

Dolores Panga, another coffee farmer in Asipulo, has rejuvenated all her 200 coffee trees this year with support from Hojap Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s loan program.

“Sumali ako sa project dahil nagbigay ng loan ang Hojap para makapagsimula na kami sa rejuvenation. Inaasahan namin na mas marami pa ang magiging bunga ng aming kape,” she said.

While waiting for new and healthy branches to bear fruit, both Ernesto and Dolores are focusing on other crops such as corn, squash, and other vegetables.