Region eyes 3,000 hectares in cacao production – official

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) is targeting to cover about 3,000 hectares that will be planted with cacao next year.

Melani A. Provido, regional coordinator of high value commercial crops development program of the agency’s regional office, said Tuesday during the BizForum at Dermpath in SM City Davao that the plan is to help boost the production of cacao in the region.

The region, she said, is the major contributor of Mindanao’s total production.

Last year, the data from the agency showed there were 6,000 hectares that were planted with cacao, with 3,700 hectares in Compostela Valley.

Davao del Sur, Davao City and Davao Oriental produced 1,718 metric tons, 1,129 metric tons and 483 metric tons respectively.

The agency, in collaboration with the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Coconut Authority, distributed to farmers about 2,000 of cacao seedlings.

This year, DA XI will provide 700,000 cacao seedlings to boost the supply in the region. A farmer can have about 800-1,000 seedlings per hectare or 500 seedlings if they choose to intercrop cacao with coconuts.

The department allocated this year P52.025 million as budget support for cacao expansion program in the region.

Apart from planting materials, the budget covers on providing market support, extension support like trainings, techno demo and strengthening of organizations, research and development, irrigation support services and establishment of other infrastructure and postharvest facilities.

Those facilities include processing equipment such as cacao grinder, roaster and tablea maker; postharvest equipment like fermentation tank, coffee or cacao dryer and processing facility for cacao tablea production.

Based on Cacao Convergent Roadmap Action Programs, DA XI regional director Remelyn R. Recoter said earlier that they intend to help “improve quality and availability of planting materials, enhance farm efficiency and investments, improve market price and cacao standards, increase value-adding, improve research and extension services, access to long term funds and strengthening of industry organizations.”

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