Twenty years ago the Philippines ranked third in world coffee production. Currently they sit at 76th in rank, quite a big slippage. The government is responding and seeks to hang a national economic recovery on the revival of the coffee industry.
Robusta and Arabica are both grown in the Philippines, along with minor amounts of Liberica and Excelsa. It is the Arabica that is receiving the most focus right now. In the Philippines, Robusta thrives in the warmer areas, while the Arabica is grown in the cooler mountainous regions. The market needs are being driven by both local consumption and global market demand. The Department of Agriculture is providing everything from farmer training to irrigation needs in the attempt to meet this demand.
Not only are they increasing the acreage of the coffee plants, but the department is also out marketing and seeking buyers. Coffee consumers should be pleased, as at least one source stated that the quality of Philippine coffee has greatly improved in the past five years. The Sun Star article states that “drinking coffee has become a tradition of every Filipino just as to other countries. Coffee is branded to be the most famous beverage in the world.” Two reasons cited are its health advantages plus its economic importance.
Though not mentioned in the article, other sources showed that the coffee production of recent years suffered from bad weather. The region is plagued by tropical storms and hurricanes. The Philippine government is heavily involved in financing crop production and has been prioritizing other crops than coffee. Coffee’s growth in popularity and demand, locally as well as internationally, is probably driving the shift in attention to coffee production in the Philippines.