A CACAO industry leader in Mindanao said cacao farmers are struggling to meet industry standards on post-harvest processes.
Cacao Industry Development Association in Mindanao (Cidami) president Val Turtur, in an interview with SunStar Davao on October 18, said despite efforts to educate cacao farmers on the value of post-harvest processes, there are still farmers who do not follow the right way of handling cacao beans after harvest.
"Naa lang gihapon tong pasagdahan tong mga cacao asa ibutang, ibulad, usahay di maayong pagka-process (There are still those who do not properly process the cacao beans after harvest like putting it anywhere to dry)," Cidami president Val Turtur said.
He said a number of cacao farmers in Mindanao have undergone their training programs on cacao handling, but some of them brushed the lessons aside.
"Siguro around 40 percent pa lang naga practice ana. Katong mga 40 percent kay mao lang pud nang naabot nato sa atong training programs. Naa puy naabot na pero nagpabilin gihapon ang culture (Of those who attended our training programs, we estimate that only 40 percent have good practices. There are those who attended but continue to practice with what they are used to)," he said.
Turtur said farmers need to recognize the value of postharvest protocols to ensure quality.
He said the local government and the private sector must also give attention on the post-harvest process aside from the technical assistance and the technologies they provide to the farmers.
"There is somehow kakulangan og social preparation sa side sa farmers or maybe sa local government nga ang training dapat should not limit sa technical (Trainings on the technical aspect of cacao processing is not enough, the farmers and the local government unit must also delve into social preparation)," Turtur said.
He added, "Unsaon nato pag-convince sa farmers nga katong ginahimo nila kaniadto dili na to pwede karon kay ang atong mga consumers karon demanding na kaayo, gusto nila nga ang inyon gihatag sa amoa kanang limpyo, lami, maayo (We have find ways to convince our farmers that their old practices are not up to current standards nowadays. Customers are very demanding now and they want their beans clean, delicious, and of good quality)."
He said Cidami has initiated meetings with the regional focal persons of the Department of Agriculture High-Value Crops and with the Department of Trade and Industry to improve the current cacao programs.