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PHILIPPINES – Government, Nestle sign memoranda to expand partnership

MANILA – Philippines Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Nestlé Philippines Inc. (NPI) chairman and chief executive officer John Martin Miller on Monday signed four separate memoranda of agreements for the joint development of Robusta nurseries, mother plant gardens, and related facilities in five DA research stations from where farmers can purchase high-yield, disease-resistant coffee seedlings at low prices.
Through the fresh partnership, which builds on the gains of a previous MOA signed five years ago, farmers will also receive technical assistance, notably on production and post-production technologies, as well marketing support.
The new project sites include the Quirino Experiment Station in Barangay Dungo, Aglipay, Quirino; Bureau of Soils and Water Management property in Barangay Dalwagan, Malaybalay, Bukidnon; and Trento Research and Experimental Station in Poblacion, Trento, Agusan del Sur.
Meanwhile, five hectares more will be added to the existing 12.5-hectare project site at the Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (NOMIARC) to accommodate more nurseries.
NOMIARC currently houses the Bukidnon Integrated Coffee Center, which includes a DA-certified mother plant garden, a training center, a demo farm, and a composting facility.
Since 2011, BICC has provided technical help and distributed plantlets to farmers in Bukidnon and nearby provinces, including indigenous peoples known as “lumads.”
In all, the partnership hopes to develop 30 hectares of new project sites, with DA providing more lands if necessary, in a bid to increase the production of Robusta.
Robusta is the variety of choice being the raw material for instant coffee, which is extremely popular in the country. It can also be planted in various parts of the archipelago.
“This (MOA) should enable our farmers to get the maximum benefits for their produce,” Alcala said in his speech during the signing held at Rockwell, Makati City.
“(It) gives our farmers the priority in buying planting materials, and enables (them) to benefit from Nestle’s advanced technology in coffee production,” he said.
Miller, for his part, expressed optimism that the collaborative partnership will be instrumental in steering the Philippines towards coffee self-sufficiency by as early as 2020.