MANILA - The military has used a portion of a camp in Bukidnon to plant Robusta coffee seedlings and use the harvest to cover the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) modernization program.
Army 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya said around 5,200 Robusta coffee seedlings have been planted in a 200-hectare plot inside the 16,000-hectare Camp Kibaritan during the weekend.
“We intend to plant at least 1,000 seedlings per hectare. The 5,200 seedlings we planted only covered five hectares (of the plantation),” he said.
The Coffee Plantation Pilot Project will be managed by former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who have returned to the government fold, he said.
He said, “We (military) have also allocated a portion of it for our brothers who have returned to mainstream society just to make sure that their life with their families will be sustained.”
He said the harvest is expected in 3 years.
“They (rebel returnees) will have no problem (selling the product) because Nestle Philippines promised to buy them,” Visaya added.
He said the project was a product of a series of planning, research and consultation.
He described it as a “very sustainable project that will work in many ways.”
“We can help generate funds to help our economy and modernize your soldiers to better serve the Filipino people and at the same time help generate potential employment,” he said.