Fedco, foreign firm ink MOU, expand cacao farms in Mindanao-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
LOCAL cacao farmers are working double time to plant a total of 1.2 million trees in two to three year's time after the Federation of Cooperatives (Fedco) in Mindanao forged a partnership with a Singaporean company.
Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (Cidami) president Ireneo D. Dalayon, speaking in Wednesday's Club 888 forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, said the massive expansion of cacao plantations came on the heels of a growing global demand for the crop.
Dalayon, who is also the chief executive officer of Fedco, said the cooperative and ADM Asia Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) about two months ago, which compels farmers to plant about 1.2 million trees in 2,000 hectares of land in Mindanao.
"Two months ago, Fedco inked a memorandum of understanding with ADM Asia Singapore wherein we will be supplying cacao beans to them. In one of the side contracts, it stated that they will provide a grinding machine once we reach 1.2 million cacao trees or 2000 hectares of land," he said.
Based on the MOU, he said the volume of the shipment will depend on the production yield of the farmers. For instance, if farmers can only produce a ton at a specified period, then that that is what they will ship out.
Part of the commitment of ADB Asia Singapore is to provide farmers a grinding machine for processing when they reach the target number of trees to be planted in the coming years.
Once they reached the required amount of plantations, they can produce up to 2.4 million kilograms (kgs) of cacao beans, one tree is expected to produce two kgs. of cacao.
Dalayon said that when the cacao is processed, this will increase the shelf life of the cacao. Cacao beans have a shelf life of six months to one year depending on the temperature and moisture of the area. But, once it is processed into powder, this will increase the shelf life to one to two years.
Exporters will also pay a lower freight rate since the butter fat is removed and thus reducing its weight.
To reach the required plantation, they are looking into other areas like Dipolog, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato since they are lacking lands for expansion in Davao del Norte.
They will be having their trial shipment next month to Singapore. However, Dalayon said that the amount they will send will depend on the availability of the beans because they are short of beans right now since it is being used to plant new trees.
ADM is a leading agricultural processing company present in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. They are currently present in six Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, and Singapore. ADM Singapore's primary business is processing cocoa beans.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 03, 2013.