Group helping cacao farmers to expand services to Luzon, Visayas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 July) – A group helping local cacao farmers will be re-launched on August 1 to cover other farmers across the country.

The Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc., a nongovernment organization, will be renamed the Cacao Industry Development Association of the Philippines (CIDAPHIL) beginning next week, its executive director Valente Turtur said.

Turtur said they expect 20 cooperatives in Luzon and the Visayas to enlist the help of CIDAPHIL in marketing and training on cacao growing.

CIDAMI started in 2011 as a “cacao value-chain organization composed of farmers and farmer cooperatives, nursery operators, traders, processors, input suppliers, and academe.”

Since 2011, it has been receiving funding support from ACDI-VOCA, a private, international development nonprofit organization that helps “to promote opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice.”

CIDAPHIL will support farmers by improving their linkages to the buyers while helping educate growers on the best practices inn cacao farming.

Turtur said satellite offices will be put up in different parts of the country to cater to more cacao farmers, specifically in areas with huge potential for cacao growing such as Negros Island, Bicol Region, Ilocos Region, Palawan and some lowlying areas of Benguet province.

Some existing producers have been operating in Luzon but they lack market links, he added.

“We would like to link them to the buyers because there are processors of cacao in some areas yet buyers there do not know. Many of them would buy cacao beans in Manila but these beans came from Davao. We would like to establish the connection,” he said.

He said building a successful market system would entail farmers to produce enough supply of cacao.

He said farmers outside Mindanao are welcome to visit the demo farms in Davao City, the biggest producer of cocoa beans in the country at 6,200 hectares, followed only by Davao del Norte with 5,900 hectares.

Turtur expressed willingness to visit farms in Luzon and the Visayas to give technical training.

“We will emphasize to farmers that we really have to follow the proper protocol in cacao production to make it more sustainable,” he said.

He said they hope to attain the 2020 target of 100,000 metric tons of roasted cacao beans, a challenge posed by the world’s leading chocolate maker, Mars. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)