Panel encourages Filipinos in U.S. to invest in PH coffee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The first Agri-Negosyo webinar for Filipinos in the United States, highlighted investment opportunities in the Philippine coffee sector.
The April 8 webinar, “Agri-Negosyo for Overseas Filipinos (USA): Insights from the PhilCAFE Project.” was hosted by the Philippine Embassy.
The Philippines is currently the fourth largest coffee consumer in the world, but it imports 93% of its coffee requirement. The country grows all four coffee species: Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica, whose one specific variety is known as “kapeng barako.”
Featured were presentations by TJ Ryan, chief of party of the Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise (PhilCAFE) Project. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña and DTI Regional Director for the Cordillera Administrative Region Myrna Pablo.
They explained their agencies’ respective programs in support of overseas Filipinos who may want to go into the business of producing and distributing Philippine coffee. Pacita Juan, president and co-chair of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., rounded up the panel as she shared the perspective from the private sector.
“The opportunity in the Philippines is tremendous. It’s spectacular,” said Ryan. “Ninety-three percent of the coffee is imported, and the growth of brewed coffee is likely to grow in a robust way. Buyers are, of course, looking for producers who can deliver quality on a consistent basis. It’s a question of getting quality planting material, learning, good agricultural practices and good processing practices.”
PhilCAFE leverages private and public capital to put the National Coffee Roadmap into action. The project empowers legacy institutions such as the Philippines Coffee Council, state universities and colleges (SUCs), private universities, and industry actors to support the sustained development of the coffee sector.
“Coffee is a high value crop. It cannot be denied, however, despite being considered a value crop and a priority commodity, the full potential and growth of the industry are yet to be realized. Living within the limited budget, we at the Department of Agriculture have been implementing programs toward the development of the Philippine coffee industry,” Undersecretary Laviña stated.
Meanwhile, DTI Regional Director Myrna Pablo reported that “trainings and other technical assistance are given to coffee MSMEs like good manufacturing practices, roasting, green grading, cupping, product development, trainings on e-commerce, and marketing activities like participation in trade fair exhibits.”
Pacita Juanexplained that their organization “has always promoted niche markets. This is our marketing strategy, if you will. Since we don’t have a lot of coffee to export, we have to find certain niches in the markets for coffee.”
She also highlighted opportunities for overseas Filipinos such as in planting coffee, providing the coffee farm experience, importing green coffee from the Philippines, or investing in the roasted coffee business.
“I know that some of you are not ready to come home. You can help us promote Philippine coffee by bringing Philippine coffee to America, albeit in green form so that you can roast it freshly in your neighborhood and put up a neighborhood café. So, I think there is a future to come home to,” Juan told the audience.
The event was moderated by Philippine Agricultural Attaché to the United States and the Americas Dr. Josyline Javelosa. Philippine Labor Attaché Angela Librado-Trinidad gave the closing remarks.
“Agri-Negosyo for Overseas Filipinos (USA): Insights from the PhilCAFE Project” was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy, through the Office of the Agriculture Attaché, Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Washington, D.C., and the Public Diplomacy Section, with the support of the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers and Philippine Consulates General in the United States.
Those interested in “Agri-Negosyo Para sa OFWs” may visit http://innovate.dti.gov.ph/programs/agri-negosyo-para-sa-ofws/ ###