THE Provincial Environment Management Office (Pemo) of Negros Occidental and Project Uitzending Managers (PUM) Netherlands have strategized on how to develop the province’s rich cacao plantation and production.

PUM Netherlands Cross-Sector Collaboration Expert and Senior Expert on Cacao Sylvia Bark-Schram visited San Carlos City Mayor Rene Gustilo on Thursday, July 28, to discuss the plans that they have developed.

Schram’s visit was also part of her ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the province’s wide development of the cacao industry that helps provide livelihood for small-scale farmers.

She said that they have drawn up a few plans in collaboration with other provincial offices such as the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as well as private sector stakeholders.

These are geared towards assisting Pemo in its push to upscale farmers in enhancing their management skills and expertise that will help bring out the full potential of cacao bean production.

The PUM expert also expressed hopes that after three weeks of studying the industry, their drafted plan will be approved by the governor.

For cacao farmer Homer Vicente Gonzales Jr., also of Insikwate Cacao Product Enterprise, the visit of the PUM representative is a welcome development for the city’s cacao industry.

It will provide more opportunities for cacao farmers in terms of the potential market and improve production, Gonzales said.

He also lauded Pemo’s initiative in helping the cacao farmers in the province.

Boyet Tribunalo of the Cooperatives Livelihood and Development Office (CLDO); Prudencio Bayawa, officer-in-charge of the City Agriculture's Office; Luisa Tutor, Senior Environmental Management Specialist; Meralet Padilla, Community Development Assistant I; and Vannesa de Dios, community affairs officer I of Pemo accompanied Schram during the visit. (PR)