Leading cacao exporter offers loan for DAR beneficiaries

Source: Davao Sun Star

BECAUSE of the huge market of cacao abroad, Kennemer Foods International Incorporated (KFI), a leading exporter of cacao product will be extending financial assistance through loan for cacao farmers especially for the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform in Zamboanga, Saranggani and Sultan Kudarat hopefully by next year.

Working in partnership with Landbank of the Philippines Inc., the leading exporter will provide financial assistance to interested cacao farmers who will be given the chance to borrow up to P75,000 per hectare.

KFI chief executive officer Simon Bakker said that with the Cacao Contract Growing Program and partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), borrowers will get assistance and will have convenience in paying their tenancy since they will pay starting on the third year and the next two years. The first two years of the grace period will allow farmers to propagate their cacao crops.
In addition, farmers and cooperatives will pay in a form of cacao beans or through the buy­back system offered by KFI. Half of their harvest will be go directly to KFI while the other half will be kept by the farmer.

He also added that aside from loan, they also provide planting materials like high­yielding, six­month old, clonal cacao seedlings which is included in the agreement. This is to assure that the farmers will be getting quality cacao seedlings.

KFI area manager Guadalupe Ocial said farmers can also get free technical assistance from their technicians who will train them the process of field preparation, planting, management of the gestation period, harvesting, pest management and maintenance and rehabilitation of older cacao trees.

Currently, cooperatives like Laak Multipurpose Cooperative in Laak, Compostela Valley (ComVal) and Maragusan Multipurpose Cooperative in Maragusan in ComVal from the region avail this loan through the Cacao Contract Growing Program.

Bakker said that this will help in reviving the cacao industry in the island’s region because of its climatic appropriateness for crops, specifically cacao.