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DTI 12 determined to push Soccsksargen as the coffee capital of the Philippines

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 12 reiterated its position in elevating Soccsksargen, particularly the province of Sultan Kudarat, to be the coffee capital of the Philippines.

DTI 12 Assistant Regional Director Rictoniel Reginio said that they have not given up on their position, but he admitted that they have yet to gather more data to back up the claim.

"Actually, our effort to be recognized as the coffee capital emanates from the coffee players in the region,” he told the media during the Press Conference for the Treasures of Region 12: BLENDS Edition held on Wednesday (Sept. 27) at the Greenleaf Hotel here.

He said that Sultan Kudarat (SK) has already brought the matter to the regional level with the full backing of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 12.

Reginio said that the RDC supports the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat in its move to be officially declared as the coffee capital of the Philippines, particularly in fine Robusta.

The official said that the regional proponents, including DTI, are “still improving our database, kasi hindi naman tayo pwedeng mag-claim kung wala tayo facts isusuport doon sa ating claim [We couldn't just claim if we don't have enough facts or evidence to support our claim].”

“So once we have established the database, it will be a good reason for us to push forward with the intention that Sultan Kudarat or Region 12 shall be recognized as the coffee capital of the country,” said Reginio.

In March, the RDC 12 unanimously approved Resolution No. 38 series of 2023, "Requesting the Senate of the Philippines to Confer to the Province of Sultan Kudarat the Designation of Coffee Capital of the Philippines," reinforcing the resolution earlier passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of SK.

Meanwhile, the Sultan Kudarat Coffee Council also initiated early this year the crafting of the Coffee Roadmap 2023–2027, which aims to further improve the growth of the coffee industry in SK from this year onwards.

Among the places in Soccsksargen, the province of Sultan Kudarat shares about 86 percent of the region’s total coffee production, that is, for both dried coffee and green coffee beans.

Because of the more than 26,000 hectares of coffee production area, Sultan Kudarat contributes at least 20,437 hectares, or 78 percent of the total area dedicated to growing coffee.

DTI Sultan Kudarat OIC Provincial Director Mary Ann Morales said that SK has a huge production area of coffee in Region 12.

“We also have winners from SK who are national awardees of the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition in 2023 for the Robusta category who are young entrepreneurs,” she noted.

The Treasures of Region 12: Blends Edition, an upgrade of the 2022 Kape Dose Festival, features Soccksargen’s four priority crops, namely coffee, cacao, coconut, and cardaba, in the form of processed fruits and nuts under the DTI 12’s P3 billion Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID) Growth Project, said Robert Ofrecio, chief of the DTI 12 Small and Medium Enterprise Development Division.

The three-day event, highlighted by activities such as trade fair and product showcase, learning sessions and conferences, latte and coffee brewing competitions, and product tasting sessions, kicked off Friday, September 29 and will end on Sunday, October 1 at the Veranza Mall here.

Adrian Clave Lariba, regional coordinator of the RAPID Growth Project, described BLENDS as “Boosting Local Economy by Nurturing in-Demand Specialties.”

He said that BLENDS is a 'fusion of tradition and innovation from the intricate world of micro, small, and medium enterprises and farmer organizations" in the region.

Lariba explained that the four priority crops are being supported by the RAPID Growth Project, funded by the United Nations Fund for Agricultural Development, and implemented by the DTI in selected regions of the country, including the Soccsksargen Region's three provinces: North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani. (CTA – PIA SarGen)

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