Finding our way back
Nearly 300 years ago, the coffee plant was introduced and planted on our shores. A century later, we were a major player in the coffee trade, becoming one of the top coffee exporting countries in the world at that time. Sadly, a terrible disease hit our coffee plants and virtually wiped out all of it.
Since then, coffee production has struggled to regain prominence here in the country. Coffee consumption is another thing, as we have seen the proliferation of coffee shops everywhere in the country. In fact, we are the largest (in terms of volume) coffee importing country in the world.
Read that again.
We import an estimated 12 billion PHP worth of coffee products from around the world. I can say with utmost confidence that 12 billion (yes, with a B) pesos would have gone a long way in improving the quality of life for our local farmers, had they chosen to stick with their coffee plants.
I can't say that I blame them though. Rising input prices and low farmgate prices have discouraged coffee growers and made them resort to growing other more lucrative crops. However, now that the demand for it has been well established, it is high time that we get back to producing our world-class beans, especially our Barako Coffee (Liberica), which has become more rare.
Multiple groups have been actively pushing for the revival of the Philippine Barako. One such group is the Batangas Forum, which has partnered with the Department of Agriculture to launch the Kapeng Barako Revival Project.
And now our company has partnered with EntrePINOY FZE, a collective of enterprising OFW's from the Middle East, to bring back the glory days of the Barako. Our search for the finest Barako beans and best coffee growers in the country has begun. Our partnership aims to bring the Barako Coffee to the global stage. Through this project, we hope to spark a renewed interest and the revival of the Barako Coffee, by helping address one of the main issues for coffee growers: a stable market.
We are hoping that this would also encourage other farmers to grow coffee and thus closing the deficit that we currently have, locally, on coffee supply.
Our country has been long ideal for growing coffee, with us being in the "Coffee Belt" and being famously known as one of the most biodiverse places in the world. We can play host to a lot of living things due to our conducive conditions, and yet we have failed to take advantage of our God-given home court advantage.
The coffee drinking part of our population increases every single day. We use coffee extensively to power us through hellish commutes, long meetings, sleepy afternoons and late nights.
We were once at the top of the world when it comes to coffee, now it is time to find our way back up there.