THE San Isidro Cacao Producers Cooperative (Sicapco) in San Isidro, Davao Oriental is now ready to produce more quality cacao tablea after it received P9 million worth of support for the “Enhancement of Table Processing and Marketing Enterprise” subproject.
Sicapco Manager Victorano Orot Sr. said they started on their cacao journey after they received cacao seedlings from the province. However, when the time came to harvest their cacao, they faced a challenge in finding a buyer for their beans. That was when they decided to send their proposal for an enterprise subproject to the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rural Development Project which if approved, would also benefit all cacao farmers in their municipality.
Around that time, they also made the decision to transition from being an association into a cooperative and thus Sicapco was born.
“We really aspired to become a cooperative because of the support we got from the government,” Orot said. “We have already talked to former members of our association and they said that they will rejoin Sicapco especially because we need more cacao beans for our processing operations. Thank you so much for helping our cooperative to our MLGU, PLGU, and especially DA-PRDP.”
Sicapco can now process a large volume of cacao beans into tablea as the subproject addressed the co-op’s lack of machineries, equipment and processing facilities. The subproject will benefit the 141 members of Sicapco, 105 male and 36 female.
The enterprise package includes the construction of one Cacao Solar Tunnel and one processing building with storage and vehicle shed. Aside from these, SICAPCO also received one utility van, a motorcycle, and other processing materials and machineries.
Apart from the processing facilities, the Province through their Provincial Cooperative Officer handed a P500,000 cheque while the Municipal Local Government of San Isidro in turn gave a P300,000 cheque to Sicapco which formed part of the Proponent Group’s counterpart or equity for the subproject.
As part of the co-op’s way forward, Provincial Veterinarian Head and PRDP Focal Dr. Eric. R. Dagmang said that they planned to register the Sicapco Tablea to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) so they can bring their product to a bigger market.
“We will register to DFA the cacao tablea of Sicapco since our building is already standardized based on the DFA qualification. Without accreditation, we can’t go to a bigger market so we will register it,” said Dr, Dagmang.
San Isidro Municipal Mayor Justina MB.Yu encouraged the members and board of directors of Sicapco to focus on the development of this project.
“Let us be self-reliant. Treat this cooperative as your family because this is a source of your income. I challenge Sicapco to sustain this subproject because we don’t want to waste the knowledge, expertise, and hopes of every member in this co-op,” said Yu. PRDP