FOOD and beverage maker Nestlé Philippines, Inc. said on Monday that its project aimed at increasing the yield and income of coffee farmers turned in positive results last year.

Dubbed Project Coffee+, the initiative resulted in an increase in the average farmer yield to 477 kilograms (kg.) per hectare (ha.) in 2019, or more than double the 235 kg./ha. recorded in 2018, the local unit of the multinational group said in a briefing.

The average net coffee income for every farm was at P39,129 for 2019, or more than twice the P18,363 the earlier year, translating in an increase in the average net farm income of farmers to P90,211 last year.

Farmers based in Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat participate in training, particularly in agronomic practices, to increase income and yield.

Angel A. Bautista, Nestlé Philippines’ corporate affairs executive, said that the company continues to teach farmers on how to increase their yield, among others.

Ang goal pataasin ang yield, pataasin ang income, maging entrepreneurial ang farmers, (The goal is to increase the yield, raise the income, and make the farmers become entrepreneurial),” she said.

The project is a component of “Nescafe Plan,” Nestlé Philippines’ long-term program that intends to promote sustainable farming and to help farmers increase their production and gain higher income from coffee farming.

It centers on improving the economic viability of smallholder coffee farmers through intensive education and agricultural training.

During the briefing, Nestlé Philippines also presented that coffee production declined by 3.5% annually in recent years, while consumption rose by 8.8%.

Because of the widening gap between production and consumption, coffee manufacturers are forced to import coffee beans from Vietnam and Indonesia.

Amid the decreasing coffee production, Nestlé Philippines believes that the local coffee industry can reach self-sufficiency in the near future.

The three highest coffee producing regions in the country are all in Mindanao, which accounted for 68% of produced coffee in the Philippines.

The regions of Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, plus General Santos City), Davao Region, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao contributed 37%, 16%, and 15% of green coffee beans produced respectively.

Nestlé Philippines’ Project Coffee+ also aims to increase the yield of coffee farmers to one metric ton per hectare from 2018 to 2020. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave