P14­M cocoa production to boost Zamboanga del Sur farmers’ income

Source: The Manila Times

THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Kennemer Foods International Inc. (KFI) embarked on a P14­million cacao production to provide farmers in the province of Zamboanga Del Sur access to global markets for cocoa and arm them with new technology to boost their income and develop sustainable agribusiness enterprise.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO) Arturo N. Soria said the business venture will initially cover 200 hectares of lands in the municipality of Midsalip in the province for a period of 10 years to assist the private sector to have a steady supply of cacao beans.

“The lands to be used are managed by agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), who are members of Midsalip Farmers Multi­Purpose Cooperative (MIFAMCO), the proponent cooperative in the said project,” he added.

“The KFI will market all the harvested cocoa beans they purchased from the ARBs, who will be provided, by the same organization, with technology as well as high quality planting materials, farm inputs, trainings and technical consultancy,” Soria said.

Soria added that the KFI will fund MIFAMCO to extend cacao production loan to potential producers for the purchase of cacao seedlings.

KFI is an international organization, producer and marketer of food and agricultural products. The company specializes in growing and trading high quality fermented cacao beans. It is committed to rural development as their products encompass complete agricultural value­chain from planting materials, training and agri­technology.

Beneficiaries Development Coordination Division Chief Jose–phine Sisican said this endeavor will capacitate the involved stakeholders, especially the ARBs’ economic activities. “The DAR will continue to provide agricultural facilities in the area to empower the farmer beneficiaries and oversee the implementation of the project,” she added.

MIFAMCO Chairman Andres Rondrique said he is positive that this partnership would launch the growth of cacao industry in Region 9 starting in Midsalip.