A total of 122.7 hectares of cacao seedlings will be planted in Negros Occidental and Oriental to reinforce the cacao industry in the Negros Island Region, Bernard Limbaga, of the Department of Agriculture-NIR Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, said yesterday.
At their meeting held June 15, DA and the recently created NIR Cacao Industry Council planned to ask regional and provincial office heads, and members of the academe for support in reinforcing the industry, Limbaga said.
The NIRCIC was established during the Regional Cacao Industry Promotion and Investment Forum held in Plaza Maria Luisa Suite Inn, Dumaguete City, Neg. Or., Friday.
In the forum, DA presented the 2016-2020 Philippine Cacao Industry Road Map to the stakeholders, and for the NIRCIC to start initiating the action plan in the region, he said.
The cacao industry road map in anchored on the value Chain Approach and was crafted in consultation with the various industry stakeholders during the forum, he added.
The forum was also held in other regions, after the memorandum released and signed by DA Undersecretary for Operations and Agribusiness Emerson Palad, that directed all DA Regional Offices including the NIR to lead the Regional Cacao Industry Promotion and Investment Forum.
“This is our pledge for commitment to support the cacao industry through adopting the integrated Philippine Cacao Roadmap,” Palad said in his message.
There has been renewed interest in the cacao industry with the increasing demand and the upward trend in farm gate prices for cacao beans, a significant and a “no-substitute” raw material in the processing of value-added cacao-based products in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors, Assistant Regional Director Edwin Banquerigo of the Department of Trade Industry-11m said during the forum.
“This will encourage establishment and expansion of cacao farms. Statistically, 90 percent of existing cacao farms are small ranging from one to three hectares,” Banquerigo said.
His report said that while cacao demand is still increasing, the gap in supply continues due to production constraints brought about by changing weather condition, pests and diseases, low productivity, aging cacao trees, competing crops and unsustainable cacao farms.
He said, cacao powder is the biggest cocoa product import in the Philippines. Most local chocolate manufacturers use imported cacao powder and butter.
Local cacao beans produced are either used by local Artisan chocolate makers and tablea producers, or exported, and beans are second to chocolates, he added.
He said, “This is ironic since the first cacao in Asia was planted in the Philippines in 1670 and commercial farms already existed in the 1950s.”
While agricultural commodities are subject to price fluctuation, cacao price is less prone to severe fluctuation, he also said.
Uniquely for the Philippine condition, the price of cacao is high during peak season, starting October to January. Coincidentally, this is the inventory period in preparation for Halloween, Christmas and Valentines, he added.KBC
back to top