CAO’s budget ‘not sufficient’ for cacao development

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


THE Davao City Agriculturist Office (CAO) said that its P16-million budget for 2014 is not enough to assist local cacao farmers.

CAO Assistant Head Roselio T. Tabay, speaking in Thursday's I-Speak Forum at the City Hall, said around P20,000 will be spent for each hectare should farmers expand cacao plantations in the city.

He said the P16 million is not only focused on cacao development, as it also funds other projects concerning primary crops, including the one needed for its organic farming program.

"We need more funds to really expand our cacao plantations. We are targeting to expand the plantations to 10,000 hactares in the next few years," he said.

CAO is monitoring around 2,800 hectares planted with cacao trees.

The official, however, added that putting up barangay nurseries for cacao in Marilog and Paquibato will help bring down expenditures and, thus, hasten their goal to expand cacao farms in the city.

He said the barangay council will help in assisting and informing cacao farmers on the growing and handling of cacao seedlings.

Tabay also said the inter-agency collaboration between CAO, Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will do great help to foster the city's agriculture.

"The system, in this convergence will be, whatever fund allocation they have for a certain area we will consolidate it so that there will be (realization of) impact on the programs once they are implemented," he said.

Tabay said farmers must not wait for the government should they want to enter cacao business. He even encouraged a two-participation between the government and the farmers in developing this crop.

"What we can do together is participatory, we at the government side can help you through the provision of trainings, seminars, and information while you (farmers) should also work hard to manage and grow the cacao," he said.

Earlier, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ordered the CAO to provide assistance to the cacao farmers since there is a huge opportunity in the industry due to the increasing market demand.

Tabay said even without a policy that will clearly set the direction of cacao industry, they will continue extending assistance and educating farmers as prospective players in cacao industry.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 17, 2014.

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