The good quality of coffee that is grown at an altitude of over 1,600 meters in Boquete, province of Chiriquí, motivated the German Coffee Roasters Guild and other people interested in the Geisha variety to take a three day tour on several coffee-growing farms.
Heiko Rehorik, general secretary of the German Coffee Roasters Guild, expressed that the quality of coffee in the province of Chiriquí is impressive, since it is grown in an ideal climate and especially because the coffee trees are visibly healthy.
Rehorik said that for these reasons the fame of Panamanian coffee has been promoted in Germany, “We have markets for specialty and gourmet coffee from Chiriquí and we can import it to Germany, where the prices range from 10 to 40 dollars per pound.” With an improved quality of specialty coffee, Panama aspires to compete with large international companies like gourmet or boutique companies in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
Ben Cardoze Fábregas, promoter of Investment and Exports at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama (MICI), stated that this important tour took place not only in Boquete, but also in Renacimiento, Volcán and Bocas del Toro. The latter destination was because the Germans have also shown interest in Panamanian cocoa, which is mostly grown in the Bocas region.
This interest was stimulated at the Coffee, Tea & Cocoa (COTECA) world fair in Hamburg, where Panamanian farmers were invited and achieved concrete negotiations with both their coffee and cocoa products, explained Fábregas. Among the farms visited during the subsequent tour were Finca Lérida, Hacienda La Esmeralda, Café Kotowa, APRE in Renacimiento, Café Durán, Yangüés and Café Ruiz.
Rachel Peterson, sales promoter for La Esmeralda farm, explained that the coffee grown in the highlands deserves more demanding markets, since it is the only bean in the world that is picked, treated and processed manually and not through machinery, like in other countries. The prices offered by these European markets are tempting for Panamanian coffee growers, and that is why they seek out such demanding coffee markets.
As explained by the sources, the product will be sold in Germany in a package that includes the story behind the origin of the coffee and cocoa, so that when consumers in Germany buy the product they will be able to learn in detail about the regions of Panama where this important export item is produced.
The coffee growers also intend to maintain the markets that have already been explored for coffee, such as Korea, Taiwan, China, Norway, Sweden and the United States, big consumers of coffee and cocoa.
Drop in production.
According to the latest report by the Comptroller General of the Republic regarding the coffee harvest for the 2011-2012 period, and based on results of a survey conducted in May of five provinces, including the Ngäbe Buglé comarca, the amount of coffee obtained was 273,200 quintals of green coffee.
The report shows a decrease of 22.8% compared to the previous period, which had 354,013 quintals of green coffee. The provinces that showed the greatest increase in coffee growing were Chiriquí with 197,300 quintals of green coffee, which represented 72.2% of the total harvest, Ngäbe-Buglé with 20,100, Coclé with 17,700 and Panama with 14,100 quintals of green coffee.
Additional provinces that gave a significant contribution to the existing inventory of the bean are Colón with a harvest of 12,200 quintals and Veraguas with 11,900 quintals harvested.