A better way to use coffee to restore Philippine forests and Lake Lanao

Last month, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala urged farmers around Lake Lanao to plant fruit-bearing and coffee at the Lake Lanao Watershed Reservation.

He said farmers can intercrop the coffee with the fruit trees. He’s apparently pushing for what is referred to as commercial polyculture.

That’s okay. But it would have been a lot better had he encouraged revival of the forest with coffee as the main enticer to protect it considering that we are talking of Lake Lanao here and not just any water source.

Lake Lanao is not just any lake, it is a heritage, it is an identity; the very reason why the Maranas are named such. Now, with polyculture all around its watershed, expect agricultural runoffs.

Lake Lanao deserves more than this. The better call should have been to enhance protection by encouraging residents to plant coffee within the forest, whether it be reforested or natural growth forest.

By growing coffee under the shade of the forests, both humans and the environment win.

Photo of Lake Lanao by carsim.

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