MisOr to become ‘chocolate capital’ of PH

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Friday, August 15, 2014


MISAMIS Oriental is beginning the first few steps to becoming the Philippines' chocolate capital as an international producer of cacao beans has tapped the province to put up hectares of cacao plantation.

Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano, in his recent State of the Province Address (Sopa), revealed that Kennemer Foods International has entered into an agreement with Misamis Oriental where 1,000 hectares of land have already been made ready for the planting of cacao trees.

This plantation is equally divided to the towns of Balingasag to Magsaysay and Jasaan to Lugait, Emano added.

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Kennemer is the major producer of cacao beans to Mondelez, the parent company behind the 189-year-old confectioner Cadbury based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Although the target is to have at least 30,000 hectares of cacao plantation to be able to have a chocolate plant, the province's chief executive is optimistic to realize the vision to make Misamis Oriental the chocolate capital of the country.

Danilo Jamitu, Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) administrative officer, said the firm chose the province because of its ideal location where other produces that are key to making chocolates like sugar and milk can also be found.

Jamitu said the province has a total of 189,000 hectares of coconut lands where a huge part of it are not intercropped.

Intercropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in proximity.

Emano added that a farmer could profit almost half a million in one year when the plantation will start to operate.

According to Jamitu, anyone who owns a land can benefit from the agreement as long as the land one owns is suitable for cacao plants.

"Seedlings will cost farmers P50,000 per bag. This amount will be lent to the farmers through loans by the province to a government bank. When harvests come, that's the time the farmer will give back to the province," said Jamitu.

Each hectare will be planted with 40,000 trees. The seeds will be provided by the nursery office of PAO.

The Technical Working Group of the province has conducted studies of the agreement between parties. Before the year ends, the planting will commence.

Emano hopes that the province will be put in the world map to be the next major cacao producer in Asia or even in the entire world.

Cote d'lvoire in Africa is the top cacao-producing country in the world where 37.4 percent of its production comes from them or equivalent to 1.3 million tons, while Indonesia and Malaysia topped among Asian countries.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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