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Isabela City to observe Coffee Month in October, hopes to revive the industry

Isabela City is gearing up for a month-long celebration of coffee this October, as it aims to revive its once-thriving coffee industry.

The city government has planned series of activities geared toward promoting Kapesabela, the local branding name for Isabela City coffee. Among these activities are the formation of a coffee growers association, coffee tree planting across six barangays, a Kapesabela Brewers' Competition, and an investment forum, which will be participated by representatives from hotels, restaurants, cafes of Zamboanga City.

Notably, the Philippine Coffee Board headed by its President Chit Juan, together with her team, visited the coffee farms in Isabela City to talk with coffee farmers. Juan shared that the Philippine population consumed over 130,000 metric tons of coffee. However, only 10% of the country’s coffee is locally produced, with most imports coming from Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries.

Juan  added that Isabela City and the entire Basilan has the potential to become a major player in the country's coffee industry with its rich soil and favorable climate.

In June 2023, Basilan coffee as a premium product has been nationally recognized, particularly the Venado Excelsa Coffee of the United Workers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (UWARBMPC) in the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition, which identifies and promotes the best coffee quality in the Philippines to domestic and international markets. The Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), ACDI/VOCA, Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia (BCAA), and most recently, the Philippine Coffee Guild (PCG), have organized PCQC since 2017.

The competition is an annual event designed to benefit producers, market actors, and consumers, with the support of the government, private sector, and donor-funded projects. Through the PCQC, producers are motivated to improve their coffee quality and improve market access as these coffees become known to specialty buyers.

As Isabela City becomes more active in the coffee sector through the leadership and initiative of Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, the local coffee cultivators are expected to play a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of coffee production in the Philippines. Mayor Turabin-Hataman aims to develop coffee as the prime agricultural product of the city, and she invited the Philippine Coffee Board to help plan and implement a rehabilitation program for the city’s coffee.

“When I became mayor of Isabela, coffee is something I wanted to develop as prime agricultural produce of the city, thus we invited the Philippine Coffee Board to help us plan and implement a rehabilitation program for our city’s coffee," Mayor Turabin-Hataman said in one of her facebook posts.

Meanwhile, Jaime Rivera, Local Economic Development, Investment Officer (LEDIPO) said during his radio guesting with Philippine Information Agency's radio program at DXNO-FM Radyo Komunidad that, by cultivating high-quality coffee beans and promoting sustainable farming practices, Isabela City is taking a significant step in positioning itself as a major force in the Philippine coffee industry.

"With its rich soil and promising coffee-growing conditions, Isabela City may well become a hub of premium coffee production in the Philippines, fueling the growth of a local industry with immense potential," Rivera expressed. (RVC/NDR-PIA Basilan)

About the Author

Nilda Delos Reyes

Information Officer II

Region 9

Currently the Information Center Manager of Basilan Infocenter

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