Coffee Academy to help Batangas students grow kapeng barako

By Nikka Garriga

LIPA CITY, BATANGAS—The students of the Pinagtongulan National High School here could be just what this city needs to keep the province's famous kapeng barako alive.

The Department of Education (DepEd) recently launched the Lipa-based Coffee Academy, which seeks to teach senior high school students the technology of growing and cultivating coffee.

This is in line with the implementation of the K to 12 basic education reform program, which was designed primarily to produce high school graduates equipped with the knowledge and skills for work or higher education.

The DepEd Division of Lipa will pilot the Coffee Academy at the Pinagtongulan National High School as a special program for senior high school from school year 2012 to 2013 (Grade 11) and 2013 to 2014 (Grade 12).

Some of the components under the specialized curriculum will be basic research method, project feasibility study, coffee nursery management and practices, and entrepreneurial development.

The academy is expected to produce students who have the technical know-how on research, cultivation and production of the famous Batangas coffee.

The popularity of the kapeng barako traces its roots way back in the 1800s, when the Philippine coffee beans shipped to America and Europe commanded five times the price compared to other varieties from Asia.

In 1889, coffee rust and insects infested all the coffee trees and caused many coffee farmers to shift to other crops.

Though it did not cause a total collapse of the planting industry, planting areas were greatly reduced which consequently affected the potential of the industry to flourish.

“Using education as one of tools to revive the industry, we want our youth to take part in bringing back the glory days of coffee in Batangas,” Education chief Armin Luistro said.

(Photo courtesy of the DepEd Communications Unit)

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