The seedlings are very healthy. Normally you estimate that about 25% of the seedlings will not survive. Our nursery has done extremely well we have only lost about 10%-15%. We are very happy with how well the plants are doing and that we now have more seedlings than we were expecting.
The Bugkalot have protected their lands and their forests from the plague of illegal logging that has denuded and destroyed much of the Philippines’ forest cover and the Bugkalot Ancestral Domain which is a national treasure. However, there are significant areas of thin and denuded cover resulting from natural events and traditional ‘slash and burn’ agriculture practices. The reforestation of such areas with industrial tree crops like coffee provides for livelihood opportunities for the Bugkalot forest-dwellers, the environmental rehabilitation of sparse and denuded forest lands and the protection of critical watersheds.
In the beginning of February 2013 the land for the nursery was selected and the papers were signed for the use of the land. The nursery was built in the begging of March and the coffee seedlings were planted and are growing well.
With a population of 100 million people, the Philippines consumes some 60,000,000 kg of coffee every year, and has a potential to double this demand to 120,000,000 kg within five years with proper investment in promotion and advertising. In contrast, according to the Bureau of Agriculture Statics (BAS), the Philippines is currently producing only 31,000,000 kg of coffee nationwide, mostly in Mindanao. Philippine production represents about fifty percent of domestic consumption with the balance imported from South East Asian countries like Vietnam and Indonesia.
To compensate for coffee imports, the Philippines would need to develop at least 30,000 hectares of land into coffee production (assuming a yield of 1,000 kg per hectare) and would require that about 45 million coffee trees be produced and planted nationwide in the Philippines. Over 10 years, demand is expected to reach more than 150 million kg per year, and the Philippines would need to have 150,000 hectares of land planted with coffee trees to achieve that level of production. In other words, the Philippines would need to develop 15,000 hectares per year over the next 10 years planting a minimum of 22.5 million coffee trees each year for 10 years just to keep pace with domestic demand.
Because of this huge demand we know our product will always have a buyer here in the Philippines and potentially worldwide.
The Philippines falls right within the ‘coffee belt’, the latitudes in which all coffee plants are grown between the Tropics of Cancer & Capricorn.
Coffee trees thrive in mountain climates and the best coffee, Coffea arabica, grows best at higher elevations. Located in the highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range of northern Luzon, Philippines, the traditional tribal lands of the Bugkalot Ancestral Domain cover more than 136,000 hectares of mountainous forest land in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, and Isabella. It is perfect “coffee country”.
Situated within an elevation between 600 to 2,000 meters above sea level, with good soil conditions, excellent water resources, and reasonable access to transportation and electricity make this site a suitable location for the development of the coffee plantation and an integrated coffee processing complex for Arabica coffee production.