The Cavite State University (CvSU) recently launched the Philippine Coffee Quality Center, a center funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
 
The center is designed to complement the thrust of the Coffee Research and Development (R&D) Program titled, “Creating Growth in the Countryside through Development of Appropriate Technologies on Coffee Production and Processing.” The program aims to increase farm productivity and improve coffee quality through R&D interventions on varietal selection/improvement, production of planting materials, site selection, and processing/value-adding.
 
The Center was built with coffee cupping and processing facilities, Genetics and Tissue Culture Laboratory, and the Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) Office.
 
Some of the planned initiatives to further develop the Center include the provision of funds for its operations, hiring of permanent personnel to be designated at the Center, offering of laboratory and training services, development of coffee blends and other coffee-based products, and strengthening the linkages with farmers, cooperatives, industry players, and other stakeholders.
 
According to DOST-PCAARRD Acting Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, the Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) for Coffee is one of the programs that received a significant budget from the Council. He said that it has well-defined programs with clear outcomes, among which is the Philippine Coffee Quality Center.
 
Accomplishments and initiatives of the Coffee R&D Program
 
Aside from the Philippine Coffee Quality Center, the Coffee R&D Program’s outputs are almost ripe for harvest. Cup and roasting profiles of Arabica (Coffea arabica) and Liberica (Coffea liberica) coffee have been developed to enhance the cup quality of Philippine specialty coffee. More than 250 farmers were trained on proper harvesting and postharvest technology, and a protocol on proper harvesting and postharvest practices will be applied for intellectual property right.
 
Protocols on the different phases of somatic embryogenesis are also being optimized. Somatic embryogenesis is a tissue culture method that can produce true-to-type and quality planting materials in a shorter period and in a larger scale compared with conventional methods. To date, the protocol for the callus induction phase has been optimized while the rest are nearly complete.
 
The widening disparity between coffee production and consumption, among other reasons, inspired the desired creation of the first gene bank for coffee in the Philippines. In relation to this, one of the projects is establishing field gene banks at the cooperating State Universities and Colleges including the Benguet State University (BSU), Central Mindanao University (CMU), and Central Philippines State University (CPSU). The project also created a database of genetic resources known as Coffee Genetic Resource Information Documentation Database or simply, Coffee GRIDD.
 
Suitability maps have been developed for Arabica and Liberica to show the extent of appropriateness of land areas for planting coffee.  Standardized maps of elevation, soil pH and texture, annual precipitation, annual temperature, and road density have also been generated.
 
Some of the remaining activities under the program include the development of a training manual on Coffee Seedling Production Management, complete renovation of the tissue culture laboratory at the Cavite State University (CvSU), and conduct of training for the cooperating agencies on nursery management of tissue-cultured coffee seedlings.
 
During the Coffee R&D review, the technical panel challenged the program team to develop what would be known as the “Filipino Coffee,” with its signature properties and standard in terms of measurable parameters for Arabica and Liberica. They also encouraged the lobbying on proper harvesting and postharvest processing, along with the formulation of an accreditation body. Other opportunities identified include the certification for seedling/planting material production, further molecular characterization for integrity, and creation of new coffee blends from the developed cup profiles.