ILOILO CITY — Nestlé Philippines, Inc. is planning to establish a coffee processing plant in Iloilo province and has started working with the provincial government to development nearby farms to supply the plant.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-PENRO-Iloilo) head Raul L. Lorilla said the multinational food firm’s Philippine office has initiated coordination with the local government for coffee production.
“I think this is now the time for us to collaborate with other private or (government) agencies in order for us to improve the marketing of coffee,” Mr. Lorilla said in an interview.
He said Nestlé’s proposal complements the goal of Iloilo province of setting up large-scale coffee and cacao plantations.
The provincial government has allotted an initial P10-million supplemental budget for the expansion or development of new coffee and cacao farms.
Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. has said he will prioritize coffee and cacao development.
DENR is also planning to develop 3,000 hectares (has) in the towns of Janiuay, Calinog, and Lambunao for coffee plantations.
The three towns are recipients of the P200-million reforestation program funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Mr. Lorillla said PENRO has also requested the DENR central office and JICA to consider cacao as an additional commodity under the program.
Iloilo, a mainly agricultural province, currently has the largest area planted to coffee in the Western Visayas Region with 2,116 has.
Coffee farmers, however, have previously called for assistance for new crops to replace aging and unproductive plants as well as the setting up of more modern post-harvest facilities. — Louine Hope U. Conserva