WAYS to develop other by-products of cacao from waste materials were discussed during a meeting of Philippine Cacao Industry Development Council (PCIDC) with PhilMech, hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry.

On Wednesday's, February 8, Habi at Kape forum at Abreeza Ayala Malls, PCIDC President Valente Turtur said they met with PhilMech representatives two weeks ago wherein they discussed the other by-products that can be produced from cacaos aside from chocolates.

He said PhilMech presented vinegar, soft drinks, carbonized and regular fuel, and charcoal husks made from supposedly cacao waste materials. Proposed production cost for charcoal is at P10 per kilo.

“It's a good thing that they have come up with these by-products. Instead of wasting these pods, we can make use of it. For vinegar, these are the liquids coming from the dripped cacao beans,” Turtur said.

However, he said that difficulties are seen in marketing these by-products.

He also shared three weeks ago that students from the University of Colorado met with him to introduce coco husk as an alternative for chicken feed.

“Based on the study they conducted in India and South America, putting 15 percent of processed cacao pods mixed with commercial feeds will add 10 percent weight to the chicken,” Turtur said, adding they are going to conduct a demo-experiment in the region to prove the study results of the university students.

Three hundred chicks will be divided into four groups. One group will be fed with solely commercial feeds, the second group will be fed 20 percent processed cacao pods, the third group with 12 percent, and the last group with seven percent.

Every 15 days, the chickens will be weighed for comparison. This experiment will run for 32 days or when the chickens are mature enough for harvest. On the 32nd day, they will conduct the final weighing of the chickens to find out if the processed cacao pods can indeed aid for additional weight of the animals.

“It's another innovation wherein instead of wasting cacao husks, we will process it to more useful, profitable products. If ever that prospers, I will be the one to collect these husks from cacao farms where they are already considered wastes. Then, I will also be the one to process,” he said.