CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC) in Central Luzon met Thursday, September 20, at the Manny V. Pangilinan Building in this capital city to plot the development of the cacao industry in Central Luzon.

The event dubbed Cacao Council Localisation of the National Road Map was attended by more than 100 stakeholders and farmers. National PCIC president Val Tur Tur and Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Regional Director Edwin Banguerig came to provide the national and global perspectives on cacao.

"With their support, Region III cacao farmers and producers are well guided and supported," Kapampangan Development Foundation (KDF) trustee Sylvia Ordonez said. KDF is the lead convener of the event.

The roadmap will serve as the blueprint on how to develop and market the cacao industry in Central Luzon.

The move is a project of the Cacao Region III Council, co-chaired by KDF, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry to help sell farmers' produce and provide other processed and manufactured goods direct to the consumers.

As of now, only 400 hectares of land in Central Luzon is being planted with cacao.

In Pampanga alone, Governor Lilia Pineda has committed about 30,000 hectares for cacao plantation. Also, in the province of Aurora, 24,000 hectares are planted with coconut and can be intercropped with cacao.

Cacao is currently being projected as the next sunshine industry in the region and in Pampanga.

DA Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña earlier said that the government is now identifying highly-capable farmers who can ensure that they can grow the plants as beneficiaries of the certified seedlings distributed by the agency.