Farmers learn best practices in coffee farming
For the coffee industry in Ifugao to be commercially viable, farmers must increase production and upgrade coffee quality first.
This is according to the certified Arabica Q grader and trainer, Jennifer Rimando during the two-day technical learning tour at Ola Organic Coffee Farms in Sagada, Mountain Province.
Fifteen coffee farmers of Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative (HMPC) from Ifugao visited the farm owned by Rimando to learn good farming practices in coffee production and quality enhancement. They were trained on organic farming techniques such as weeding, pruning, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation.
"Mahalaga ang training na mga ganito dahil kailangan natin mapataas ang production. Pero kaakibat pa din nito ang quality," Rimando said.
Rimando added that experiential learning through on-farm training give farmers more concrete ideas they can replicate.
Farmers urged to rejuvenate trees
During the lecture, Rimando pushed for rejuvenation of old coffee trees to further boost productivity.
"Rejuvenation makes the coffee trees young again," she said.
Coffee rejuvenation, as stated by the Department of Agriculture, is “the cutting of vertical stems of old trees to induce growth of new sprouts. It is widely accepted practice for revitalizing coffee farms and has been found to be advantageous than replanting.”
According to Rimando, studies revealed that rejuvenation could bring back coffee green bean yield to 100% and could lessen labor cost by 50%.
The trainer added that trees of more than ten years can now be rejuvenated, and the practice should be done during rainy season.
Boosting coffee productivity improves farmers' lives
To Shirley Tagtag, general manager of HMPC, the training addresses the low productivity of coffee trees despite the high demand for coffee products.
"Kung hindi mag-GAP (good agricultural practices) ang farmer, walang mangyayari sa amin," she said.
The learning tour, according to Tagtag, will also encourage farmers to rejuvenate their trees.
HMPC partnered with Peace and Equity Foundation through its Social Enterprise Institute in facilitating the training of the coffee farmers.