Batangas' coffee industry takes a hit from Taal eruption

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2020 06:51 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2020 10:21 PM

Koring, a 57 year old Cacao farmer rinses ash fall from his plants in Talisay on January 13, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Consumers of Batangas' famous barako coffee may have to get their caffeine kick from other varieties for now after Taal volcano damaged coffee farms in the province.

The Department of Agriculture said ashfall from Taal has damaged 2,772 hectares of farmland which grow rice, corn, banana and high-value crops including coffee. 

The DA estimates that total damage to agriculture has reached P577.6 million, with P74 million coming from coffee growers. 

Barako, or Liberica coffee, is one of the varieties grown in Batangas.

An industry group, The Philippine Coffee Board, said the first coffee tree was introduced in Lipa, Batangas in 1740 by a Spanish Franciscan monk. 

"From there, coffee growing spread to other parts of Batangas like Ibaan, Lemery, San Jose, Taal, and Tanauan," the group said on its website

The DA's Bureau of Plant Industry said it will provide 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao to farmers whose plantations were damaged.