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PH to produce flavorful and fine cacao seeds

DAVAO CITY — Cacao industry players are training their tools to produce flavorful and fine cacao seeds, said, Valente Turtur, chairperson of the Philippine Cacao Industry Development Council, during the Kakao Konek Asia Pacific Cocoa Conference which opened Thursday at the SMX Convention Center here.

Cacao (PNA / 2016.mb.com.ph)

Cacao
(PNA / 2016.mb.com.ph)

Turtur said, “We need to do it right from the start;” adding, “we need to influence all sectors to follow the standards.”

“We will not go wrong if we start right,” he said.

The 3rd Kakao Konek conference is attended by over 800 participants coming from the 16 regions in the country.

He said the world is hungry for chocolate and chocolate consumption will continue to rise. The market globally is so huge and two countries in Asia have the highest consumption of chocolate, he said.

“We are interested in these countries namely, China and India, because they are very near our country and they are our prospective markets,” he said.

Turtur said that while they encourage the industry players to do value adding on cacao products, it is worth knowing that only two countries in the world are producing tablea — the Philippines and Colombia.

“Some of our players are already into it but he said we need to really improve on production standard,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for regional operations Zenaida Maglaya said concerned government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) are into helping cacao industry improve on its production.

The DTI, she said, will help explore in value adding of the crop even as she said that they assist small and medium entrepreneurs to venture into cacao processing.

Meanwhile, Maglaya said the department designated a National Cacao Cluster Coordinator as well as Regional Cacao Coordinator in all regions, whose role is to ensure that industry convergence is taking place in the regional and national level and appropriate DTI intervention are provided.

She also said that the Road Map, as guided by the 2022 Cacao Challenge of producing 100,000 metro tons of dried fermented beans by 2022, envisioned to develop a Sustainable and Competitive Philippine Cacao Industry.

She said development directions were laid down and seven up scaling strategies were met.

Maglaya said this commodity development will serve as the vehicle where they can pursue poverty alleviation and environmental protection while advancing economic and inclusive growth through micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development, generation of more jobs and livelihood opportunities.

She said cacao is one of the six national priority cluster of DTI where a number of Share Service Facilities (SSF) were already provided to various organizations and farmers cooperatives to allow them to acquire equipment and facilities to venture into cacao processing.

Jennifer Remoquillo, national director of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), said the DA in 2016 has allocated P531 million for cacao covering 14,000 hectares.

Although she said they still don’t know the details for next year’s budget, she said they expect it would be around P800 million and a big part of the budget will go to the Davao Region in support to its Double Up Program.

The budget she said will be for acquisition of planting materials and expansion of production area, she said.