Usda, Acdi Voca to open 1st training center for farmers-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
AN AMERICAN-funded non-government organization (NGO) will open the first development and information center in Mindanao on July 18.
The United States Department of Agriculture (Usda), through another international NGO Acdi Voca, extended a funding of around P635,000 to establish the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami) along Tulip Drive, Ecoland, Davao City.
Cidami was put up to assist farmers in Davao Region, specifically in their production on cocoa products. It has complete training facilities for farmers, including nurseries for seedlings and cacao inputs will be displayed at the center. This will also showcase both products and by-products of cocoa.
Cidami executive officer Val Turtur, in an interview on Friday last week, said the NGO is aiming to revive the cocoa industry in the region that experiaced a decline on production level in the past years.
The region comprises 70 to 80 percent of the total cocoa production of the Philippines, although its collective yield is at 8,000 metric tons of cocoa beans a year.
Turtur said the region has no enough fruit-bearing cacao trees to meet the domestic market demand of 55,000 metric tons every year, much more the global market demand of 100,000 metric tons a year.
"Naay farmers nga gusto magtanom pero walay kwarta (There are farmers who would like to plant cocoa seedlings but have no financial resources)," Turtur said.
Cidami will stage a series of trainigs for six months to small cocoa growers during Thursdays of every month starting in August.
Turtur said trainings will include best practices on how to grow cocoa seedlings, organization development, and post-harvest processes.
The training will also capacitate small cocoa farmers to enable a more improved production yield from one metric ton an hectare to at least two to three metric tons an hectare every year.
The NGO already listed around 3,300 farmers in Davao region who will participate in the training starting August until January, next year. USDA funded around P350,000 a month for the trainings and P3.8 million as payment for the trainers for six months.
Turtur said Cidami currently has 16 trainers who will conduct either in-house training or a farmer field school, a kind of training wherein the trainers will be the ones to reach farmers out in the field.
"Cacao is the next big thing for agriculture in the region," he said.
Turtur said they are eyeing around 4,000 more small cocoa growers to include in the program next year.
The thrust of Cidami is to meet the 100,000 global market requirement by 2020.
"We need to plant around 50 million trees in the next three to four years)," he said, adding that this number is more likely enough to hit the global demand.
The executive said USDA will fund P6 million for the training program.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 16, 2012.