Empowering local coffee farmers through rejuvenation
In Asipulo, Ifugao, home of the famous high-quality local coffee, Hojap Kesi’melan coffee, farmers are producing more coffee beans to satisfy its ever-growing demand.
Through the Hojap Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Hojap), with support from the Peace and Equity Foundation and the local government, 100 coffee farmers are currently part of a rejuvenation project in Asipulo, where 39 have started the process, a big step toward increasing productivity for the coming years.
Rejuvenation is defined by the Bureau of Plant Industry as the cutting of vertical stems of old trees to induce growth of new sprouts. Studies have shown that it can double the yield for coffee green beans.
PEF Program Officer Alfred Escaño said that the project aims to increase the income of coffee farmers from P19,000 to P40,000 once they have completed their rejuvenation and reached the full production of their rejuvenated trees.
“Vegetables remain the primary crop in this area. But coffee serves as their source of emergency funds. We are helping them to be resilient to shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
According to Shirley Tagtag, general manager of Hojap, the pandemic and the community quarantines did not stop the farmers from rejuvenation. Their cooperative continues to support the farmers by buying their produce at a competitive rate even if the demand and pricing of coffee remain volatile in these times.
PEF supported the project with P5.4 million for production, technical assistance, and capacity-building while the government of Asipulo provided chainsaws and some labor force during farming season. Consolidation and central coffee processing centers were also built with support from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry.