150,000 hectares of cacao plantations eyed in 2020

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THE Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao (Cidami) hopes to expand the cacao plantations in Mindanao from some 10,000 hectares (ha.) to 150,000 ha. in 2020, an official said.

Cidami president Ireneo D. Dalayon, who was a guest in Monday's edition of Davao Press Club's Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao, said though the 150,000 may be a challenging target they are optimistic that this can be achieved through intercropping cacao with other plants.

He said that aside from achieving the goal, the intercropping of crops will also help the farmers in increasing their income.

"The Philippines is a pioneer in cacao plantation during the 17th century in the Southeast Asian region but right now we are behind some of our neighbors. For example Indonesia has a total cacao plantation of around 1.7 million ha.," Dalayon said.

In 1990 it was reported that the industry has a total of 18,388 ha. of cacao plantations throughout the country but in 2006 it was estimated that there are around 10,000 ha. left.

Mindanao produces around 90 percent of cacao in the country with Davao Oriental being the leading producer with 4,000 ha. of cacao plantation.
Davao region, Zamboanga peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Caraga also produce cacao.

Dalayon said that farmers not having proper planting practices and not having enough support from the government is hindering them from achieving their goal.

"We urge cacao farmers to follow the best practices done by those who have succeeded in the industry," he said, adding that for instance when planters plant 5000 seedling only 2000 will survive because they do not know or are not following best practices.

Dalayon said they can also plant cacao seedlings during rainy seasons so that it can be assured that the seedlings are well watered just like what they do in the banana industry.

"We are also calling for bigger support from the government because the industry is still young. We are requesting for financial and manpower support from because we will find it hard to expand without the support," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 01, 2014.


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