New growers centre aims to help Philippines keep up with coffee demand

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

New growers centre aims to help Philippines keep up with coffee demand
In a country where demand for beans far outstrips supply, a new Nescafé’s coffee centre of excellence in the Philippines has been designed as a starting point to improve the quality and quantity of the local crop.

The Nestlé Lipa Integrated Coffee Centre, which opened this month in Batangas City in the central Philippines, was set up to give the region’s coffee-growers access to advanced coffee farming technology and training. It is the second centre of its kind in the country.

Low supply

This is crucial because the country is a long way behind meeting its market - last year, for example, local demand for coffee beans totalled more than 70,000 tonnes, while local production reached only 30,000.

Nestlé Philippines is the country’s biggest buyer of Robusta coffee beans and the centre will also secure its long-term supply of the crop.

This is a significant milestone​,” said Edith de Leon, Nestlé Philippines senior vice-president.

Both the new Lipa coffee centre and the existing Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration Farm, in Davao del Norte, in the southern Philippines, are an integral part of the “Nescafé Plan” a US$375m initiative to support sustainable coffee farming, production and consumption.

Through the Nescafé Plan, we aim to reverse the decline in local coffee production and help the country achieve coffee self-sufficiency​,” De Leon said. “This opening represents the next big step in achieving this goal​.”

Seedling distribution

The facility, which is some five-hectares in size, was created at a cost of PHP25m (US$575,000). It features a Robusta production nursery with a capacity to produce some 500,000 coffee seedlings, which will be distributed to growers at cost price.

The goal is that the centre will, over time, become a major source of coffee seedlings throughout the country with the capacity for as many as 1m such plants. It is estimated that some 3,500 farmers will receive coffee seedlings direct from the centre by 2020.

The facility also houses a buying station where farmers can sell their produce directly to Nestlé at a price in line with those offered on the global market, as well as a composting facility for organic fertiliser.

An estimated 3,300 farmers are expected to sell their green coffee beans annually at the centre’s buying station.

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