MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Nestlé Philippines Inc. (NPI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that puts together their expertise and resources to further strengthen the country’s coffee industry.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and Nestlé president and CEO Nandu Nandkishore led DA and NPI officials in signing the agreement at the Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration Farm (NEDF) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
The agreement aims to implement the agriculture department’s vision for the coffee industry — self-sufficiency and sustainability, and one day making the Philippines a coffee exporter.
“We are happy to partner with the Department of Agriculture in making the Philippines a self-sufficient and sustainable coffee-producing country,” Nandkishore said.
Nestlé, the world’s foremost nutrition, health and wellness company, is the manufacturer of Nescafé, the country’s leading coffee brand.
Nescafé sources its coffee from around 30,000 Filipino farmers and deals with around 100,000 people more who make a living out of planting, harvesting, processing, and trading coffee.
The agreement represents the shared commitment of both the DA and NPI to address the decline in green coffee production in the country and sets terms for programs that will support Filipino farmers in efforts to rehabilitate, rejuvenate, and plant coffee trees.
Farmers will be provided with planting materials and competent agronomical expertise geared toward sustainable development.
Also present during the agreement’s signing were NPI’s Campo Van Beek, executive vice president and technical director; Edith de Leon, senior vice president and corporate affairs head; Joel Sarmiento, green coffee purchasing head; Jojo Torrente, regional sales manager; Maria Odessa Lañas, corporate marketing manager; and Carol Adolfo, marketing promotions and events executive.
The government officials present during the event were Dr. Roger Chio, DA regional executive director; Dr. Rene Espino, national program coordinator; Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario; Compostela Valley Gov. Arthur Uy; and Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy.
National coffee dev’t program
The agreement sets the foundation for a nationwide coffee development program, under which the DA will provide appropriate coffee services that will improve farm productivity, profitability, market competitiveness and long-term sustainability.
The NPI, in turn, will support the DA’s coffee development program through technical assistance in the areas of coffee production and post-production, including green coffee technology and training.
The agreement states that the DA and NPI will undertake a “joint technical and commercial cooperation and scientific exchange program that encompasses projects for the development of the coffee industry.”
These would include the joint development of green coffee production and marketing; expansion and development of areas for new coffee plantings; rehabilitation of coffee farms; establishment of coffee gardens and nurseries; and tissue culture centers for somatic embryogenesis.
Both parties have also agreed to work together in establishing a coffee institute or center that will serve as a hub for technical and training support for various coffee stakeholders, including farmers, under the mentorship of local and international coffee experts.
Partners for decades
After the agreement was signed, guests watched a video presentation that showcased several NPI initiatives that are helping the Filipino coffee farmer and the whole coffee farming industry.
These initiatives include establishing Nestlé nationwide buying stations where coffee farmers’ harvests can be purchased at world standard prices; and the NEDF that provides free training in the scientific methods of growing quality coffee (these methods also teach the importance of good crop management), among others.
Guests later toured the NEDF facilities and took part in a ceremonial tree-planting activity with the DA and local government officials, and NPI executives.
At the end of the program, coffee planting materials were distributed to Davao’s coffee-farming communities.–Philippine Star