Bigger market opportunities await the coffee industry of Ilocos Sur as the locally produced Robusta coffee from the said province was hailed as the best quality coffee during the 2018 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition held at Baguio City on March 20-21, 2018.
The robusta coffee entry of Mr. Rodolfo Aciong from the municipality of Quirino bagged the 1st place award with a score of 85.96. Other coffee growers from the province made it to the finalists row; 3rd place, Ms. Luz Dalapuz from Gregorio Del Pilar; 6th placer, Ramon Polipol from Sugpon; and Estela Salay from Salcedo, 12th place.
Meanwhile, the coffee entry of Oliver Oliem from Atok, Benguet emerged the 1st place in the Arabica category.
The competition was categorized into two different types of coffees; Robusta and Arabica. 106 entries nationwide were assessed for the competition, nine (9) of which came from Region 1.
Now on its second year, the event which was co-organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA), is one of the highlights of the 3rd Philippine Coffee Conference.
The competition was opened to coffees of Philippine origin, submitted by coffee farmers and entities engaged in coffee farming nationwide.
Primarily aims to strengthen the coffee industry in the country, the competition paves way for Philippine Specialty Coffee to be recognized in the Global coffee industry by performing evaluations aligned with globally accepted grading and profiling protocols and standards of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).
Moreover, to make the locally produced coffee known in the global market thereby opening more selling and better pricing opportunities to Philippine coffee farmers.
In Region 1, coffee is one of the priority industry being supported by DTI. It grows in the upland municipalities of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union. Fifty-four (54) percent of coffee produced is Robusta while thirty-nine (39) percent is Arabica. Excelsa and Liberica varieties, which reflect about six (6) percent and one (1) percent respectively, are produced only in the province of Ilocos Sur.
The crop was basically grown by the residents for home consumption. However, through the years, areas planted for coffee significantly increased due to the distribution of coffee seedlings by various government agencies and appreciation of its market potential by coffee farmers and stakeholders.