The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has committed its full support to the newly-launched coffee cupping laboratory in Digos City, Davao del Sur.

The facility is designed to obtain quality graded coffee to meet the increasing demand of the coffee processors in the region and the country as a whole. It is the first of its kind in Davao Region, and will cater the coffee farmers in Mindanao.

Coffee is among the priority industries which the agency has been supporting for years now. With that, it has already implemented a number of initiatives and partnered with various stakeholders for its development. These include product development and marketing.

On June 28, the cupping lab was launched. It is a joint project between the Southern Philippines, Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-supported international development nonprofit organization Agricultural Cooperative Development International-Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA). The ceremony was held at the SPAMAST-Digos City grounds.

The total project cost is P1,713,056; P467,961 for the equipment and cupping lab apparatus and P1,245,095 for the building. The cost for the equipment is a grant from ACDI/VOCA, while SPAMAST shouldered the construction of the facility.

DTI-Compostela Valley provincial director Lucky Siegfred M. Balleque noted the interventions the office has been carrying out for the coffee industry.

“In DTI, we provide interventions across the value chain. This means that from production to marketing phase, the office is there to support,” said Balleque, who is also the regional champion for coffee of the agency.

He added that DTI gives technology training and equipment through the Shared Service Facility (SSF) project.

“As we all know, there is a great demand for coffee. So, growers don’t worry, there is a huge market for coffee,” he said.

Based on the latest available data, the local demand alone is already at 75,000 metric tons annually. However, the country is only producing around 25,000 MT.

At the global trading arena, the International Coffee Organization reported that total production by all coffee producing countries was pegged at 151,624,000 of 60-kilogram bags in 2016. The world coffee consumption, though, was already at 155,713,000 between 2015 and 2016.

“We have been doing everything for our growers, producers, and even exporters. Rest assured that DTI is really doing its best to tap the highest potential of the industry,” Balleque concluded.

In the meantime, SPAMAST head Dr. Irvin Generalao emphasized on the importance of science and technology in the success of any business endeavor.

“Why did Ben Lao become successful in his coco sugar business? It is because of science and technology,” he said, adding that S & T, together with research and development, have been improving lives.

Generalao further shared that the institution is willing to construct another building to house another cupping laboratory should ACDI/VOCA decide to do so.

ACDI/VOCA chief of party Thelonious Trimmell responded by saying that the USDA is committed to continuously support the development of the Philippine coffee industry.

The Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap 2017-2022 stated that “At the end of the target term in 2022, it is expected that the coffee growers have increased their average yield of one ton per hectare, supplied the needed volume of 214,626 MT with self-sufficiency level from 41.60 percent to 160.16 percent and have increased farmers’ income and farm productivity.”