Davao aims to be top cacao producer in PH

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 August) — The city aims to become the country’s top producer of cacao, said City Agriculture Officer Leo Avila.

Avila said this can be realized if an investor from Europe pursues his plan to cultivate 10,000 hectares for coffee in the city.

Davao City presently has some 1600 hectares of cacao farms.

“Binigyan na namin sila ng proposal kung saan ang magandang lokasyon para sa cacao,” (We have proposed to them what sites are good for growing cacao) he said during the Kapehan sa SM yesterday.

He added there’s a growing demand for cacao especially those that are grown organically.

He explained that since cacao thrives best in shaded areas there’s no need to cut trees, only to clean the grassy portions of the land.

Avila said they had given soil samples taken from Marilog to the investor, but only those from Sibulan passed.

Lacking in drying facilities, a farmer uses one side of the Davao-Buda-Cagayan de Oro National Highway to dry cacao beans in Marilog District in Davao City. MindaNews File Photo by Ruby Thursday MoreHe said Sibulan already has 10,000 hectares planted with organic vegetables, a year and two months after Mayor Sarah Duterte signed the implementing rules and regulation of the Organic Agriculture Ordinance that would pave the way for the creation of a seed bank and zoning of possible sites for organic farms.

The barangay officials and the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe have already declared the area as a producer of chemical-free crops.

But Avila noted that vegetables from Sibulan have only been sold in Davao del Sur owing to difficulties in transporting them. He said a tramline was still being built in Sibulan.

The official said the city government is supporting the production of organic products as a way of sustaining food security.

However, Dr. Saturnina C. Halos, chair of the Department of Agriculture’s Biotechnology Advisory Team said genetically modified crops can coexist with organic ones to ensure the country’s food security.

She said adopting a coexistence policy is much better than scrapping one in favor of the other.

“Hopefully other LGUs (local government units) are open because what they have heard are only hearsays,” she said. (MindaNews)