Capitol trains farmers to scale-up cacao production

The Cebu Provincial Government is continuously finding ways to increase cacao production and build the Cebu Cacao Road Map.

Since November last year, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has conducted cacao trainings to 1,221 farmers in 20 cities and municipalities all over the province.

The trainings were done in the cities of Danao, Naga and Talisay and in the municipalities of Minglanilla, Argao, San Francisco, Barili, Borbon, Alegria, Ronda, San Fernando, Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Alcoy, Santa Fe, Tudela, Daanbantayan, Tuburan, Boljoon and Consolacion.

The program also highlighted the importance of cacao in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and post-harvest management.

The participants, mostly farmer-scientists, had the chance to learn how to plant cacao seedlings properly.

At present, Danao City, Argao and Alegria already have their respective cacao nurseries.

Looking into the economic and ecological benefits of cacao, Gov. Hilario P. Davide III tasked the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) to spearhead a provincial-level consultation which will serve as the basis in crafting the roadmap.

“The Cebu Cacao Road Map aims to incorporate the principles of inclusivity, resiliency and ecological balance, and unite the farmers and the private sector in putting Cebu’s footprint in the cacao industry,” said PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo.

According to PDRRMO focal person Joy Aves, the trainings will continue next year.

“We will focus on training cooperatives next year. We will craft the training design according to their interest, and will incorporate more post-harvest management,” Aves added.

National Cacao Road Map

In order to sustain and apply the lessons they’ve learned, several agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) aided the establishment of cacao nurseries.

Currently, Philippines produces 10,000 to 12,000 MT of cacao beans, a small quantity compared to the country’s demand which is 30,000 MT.

Senator Cynthia Villar, the chairperson of the committees on agriculture and food, environment and natural resources, and agrarian reform, stressed on Cebu’s vital role in meeting the country’s cacao supply.

“Cebu, as well as other areas in Central Visayas, are seen as main cacao production hubs in the future. I hope that you continue to encourage people and farmers to convert their idle lands into cacao farms,” said Villar, in her speech during the National Cacao Congress held at the Cebu Grand Convention Center last August 8.

Villar also authored Senate Bill 320 or the Cacao Industry Development Act.

Data from DTI showed that Cebu’s production of cacao beans has increased in 2014 compared to 2013, from 11.59 to 17.34 MT.

Through the roadmap, it is expected that Cebu will hit a 20 MT production by 2020.

“Truly cacao is very promising. We hope to give our share in achieving a competitive and sustainable cacao industry in the country,” Davide said.

 

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