P500 million to be allotted for cacao in Mindanao in 2016

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – Some P500 million will be poured in Mindanao next year to increase by two-folds the number of cacao trees planted through the Double-Up Program.

In an interview Friday, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) executive director Janet Lopos told reporters that the Double-Up Program was conceptualized with the Cacao Industry Development Authority of Mindanao Inc. (CIDAMI) in order to meet both global and domestic demand for cacao.

Most of the funds will be downloaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) while the counterpart of the MinDA will be P169 million.

Lopos said more budget will be allotted for this project as other agencies such as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) are also expected to contribute in the program that will start next year.

She said it is necessary to fasttrack the planting of cacao because Mindanao is being positioned as the top producer of cacao in the country.

In fact, she said when farmers start to harvest, the next thing they will do is to develop a Mindanao brand.

The Philippines has a shortage of around 40,000 metric tons (MT) of cacao, which have to be sourced from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Despite the shortfall, the country has been exporting around 2,500 MT a year out of the 12,500 MT total annual production.

Around 70 percent of the country’s cacao supply comes from Davao Region, which has 21,000 hectares planted to the crop. Davao City has 6,200 hectares, while Davao del Norte has 5,900 hectares.

With the Double-Up Program, CIDAMI is looking at bringing the production level to 200,000 MT by 2020 with 2 million hectares planted to cacao. The original target set was 100,000 MT in 1 million hectares.

Lopos said they will hire industry practitioners to do the monitoring on all crops starting next year in order to ensure that a sufficient supply will be attained by year 2020.