DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /17 Feb) – The City Agriculturist’s Office (CAO) would need P200 million to implement Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order for the office to fully develop cacao f arming in the city, an official from the office said yesterday.
Last week, CAO head Roselio Tabay said that the office is planning to expand the cacao production area from 2,800 to 10,000 hectares.
The development of each hectare of cacao land would cost around P10,000 if fully planted with cacao, with the amount to include costs for seedlings, trainings, maintenance, planting materials for dispersal by farmers and other operational needs.
Tabay said that even with the executive order coming from the city mayor, the office was already aiming for the gradual expansion of cacao farming to 10,000 hectares.
“So far, we have monitored around 2,800 hectares planted with cacao,” Tabay said, adding this amounted to less than a hectare per farmer with around 4,000 farmers practicing cacao farming.
Tabay added that this figure was only for those farms that the city has monitored, with the figure possibly ranging from 3,500 to 8,000 hectares in total.
He said that the city is prioritizing the upland districts of Paquibato and Marilog to each have barangay nurseries.
The CAO has an annual development fund of P16 million, Tabay said.
However, the agriculture official said they were banking on the convergence initiative being undergone by different concerned agencies such as the departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Agrarian Reform (DAR), as well as the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples and the Philippine Coconut Authority to coordinate the implementation of farming projects.
More importantly, the initiative enables funding for the different projects that involve several agencies to be integrated, he said
Tabay affirmed Duterte’s information that the supply for cacao has dwindled recently, especially with the low supply in West Africa.
Duterte said earlier that farmers should take advantage of the opportunity and start farming cacao.
The mayor added that he will be tasking the CAO to start training potential cacao farmers.
Tabay said the CAO has monitored around 38,000 metric tons in terms of production from local cacao farmers. Farmgate price, Tabay said, has ranged from P75 to P95 per kilo.
According to data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the farmgate price in 2013 was P95 on average.
Davao City has a land area of 244,000 hectares.