The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encourages small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to target the growing demand for premium coffee in local coffee shops in the country.

Speaking before local government agencies and coffee stakeholders in the Cordillera region, DTI Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo said, “There are vast opportunities in the regional and global production networks that we can take advantage of. The quality of our workers and the quality of our coffee beans will be key to the success of Philippine coffee in the domestic and international markets,” Rodolfo added.

In the Cordilleras, some 112 micro and small medium enterprises (MSMEs) depend on coffee growing and trading for their livelihood. “Interventions include branding and promotions, availability of financial loans, capacity building and trainings, and capital equipment. DTI together with other government agencies provide shared service facilities or machines for roasting and grinding among communities of coffee farmers and traders in the Cordillera region,” added Rodolfo.

To increase production at the farm level, government agencies and international organizations launched Shared Services Facilities (SSF) or machines and capital equipment for roasting and grinding coffee. In the farms, coffee is traditionally hand roasted and ground. The SSF in Kalinga are managed by the Balawag Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative and available for use by members and non members.

ASEAN, with its 608 million population and combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 2.3 trillion, is an attractive market and with regional integration becomes a powerful economic bloc in global trade. In preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) was signed and implemented in 2010. Coffee together with 99.7 percent of goods in ASEAN have been trading at zero tariff under the ATIGA.

“Collaboration to support the coffee industry exists both on the national and local levels. Government agencies, coffee growers, and traders have been working since 2011 to prioritize the development of the coffee industry in the Cordilleras,” DTI Regional Director for the Cordillera Administrative Region Myrna Pablo said.

The coffee industry is a multi-agency collaboration in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Government agencies under the Regional Development Council is composed of the Departments of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform, Science and Technology, Labor and Employment; National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Benguet State University, Highland Agriculture Resource and Research Development Consortium (HARRDEC), and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).