Wider plantation for cacao readied

Source: Manila Bulletin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY ­ Cacao farmers are expected to increase their production following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the establishment of an additional 10,000 hectares of land for cacao plantation in the region.

Stakeholders said that the main objective of the agreement is to have a steady supply of cacao beans intended for the world market.

Another factor under the agreement for the establishment of a wide area devoted to cacao production is to provide the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) a chance to benefit from the growing demand of cacao beans in the global market.

The MOA was signed Monday by officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and Kennemer Foods International, Inc. (KFI).

DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes led the signing of the agreement, together with DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Jerry Pacturan, and KFI Managing Director May Lynn Lee.
It was learned that the KFI is an international organization that specializes in growing and trading of high­quality agricultural products ­ particularly fermented cacao beans.

It was also learned that the KFI carries complete agricultural support ­ from planting materials, training, agri­technology, and up to the market.

Under the MOA, the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries will be assisted in consolidating their produce through block farms.

The project provides the technology that will help the ARBs increase their income, and develop sustainable agribusiness enterprises.

Agriculture experts see Mindanao as suitable for cacao growing due to its favorable climatic condition.
For his part, KFI President Simon Bakker said their company needs more cocoa beans for the global market.

Meanwhile, the DAR disclosed that the Philippines’ annual consumption of cocoa is considerably high, yet the country’s production is only about 6,000 tons per year.

As this developed, the ARBs are expected to greatly benefit from the additional areas intended for cacao farming, eventually enabling them to supply the growing global demand.