Cacao production eyed to help poor EV farmers get out of poverty.
Recently, officials of the different agencies tasked to assist farmers joined together to aggressively push the cacao industry notches higher than the usual fare.
In the recent Cacao Industry Stakeholders’ Forum held at the Leyte Academic Center, government and non government vowed to support cacao producers in Eastern Visayas.
In his message, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol said that the theme,”Eastern Visayas Responding to 2022 Cacao Challenge” is perfectly in sync with Pres Duterte’s directive to the agri sector to provide affordable and nutritious food to every Filipino.
Regional Director Wilson Cerbito said that initially, some 5,000 hectares will be devoted to cacao plantation in the region. This 2016, the government is said to provide 600 thousand planting materials and by 2017 the target is 1.5 M seedlings.
He added that in 4 year’s time, the cacao that will be planted will start bearing fruits and cacao beans.
“With the renewed interest of our farm entrepreneurs in the industry, key players strongly push for cacao to be included in the commodity champions under the high value crops.”
When asked why the need to train farmers to plant and care for the crop, Val Turtur – Executive Director of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, said that the farmers need to produce more than what is ordinary or common. The farmers need to learn to prune the plants properly to be able to produce more beans and of better quality.
The department, he said is willing to provide free seedlings but they should first be trained. “No training, no seedling,” he stressed. The government wants to be sure that the plants bear quality fruits.
Cacao planters need to care for the plants. In turn the government promised to provide support through trainings, farm inputs, technical assistance and even post harvest facilities, solar dryers and fermentation facilities, the official said.
There is a need for cacao to receive tender, loving care.
Farmers should attend to the plant properly and not just leave the plant on its own. He recommends some kind of pruning guaranteed to produce more cacao beans.
Presently, Cacao commands some Php 140.00 per kilo, the cacao experts said.
“The commitment to produce quality beans and world class cacao processed products is definitely in the offing. This is an archipelagic change unprecedented,” says Dr. Pedro Destura, Chairperson of the Regional Cacao Industry Council in Eastern Visayas. (Nimfa Quirante/PIA 8-Samar)