Quality cacao seedlings assured

THE Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami) will focus its efforts on providing quality cacao seedlings to ensure quality cacao products that will be made available in the market.

"Before we are more focus only to the produced but this time we want to give more attention to the seedlings. This is one of the things we will discuss with cacao industry players in the country during the Kakao Konek this year," said Valente Turtur, executive director of Cidami and chair of the Cacao Industry Council.

But quality cacao seedlings can only produce quality products if the farming practices are at par with the global standards in cacao farming.

"All the cacao players and concerned government agencies must have a common agenda and goal. We need to sit down and discuss on ways of boosting the industry so we will have a common vision for cacao's sustainable production," Turtur said.

The Kakao Konek 2015 or National Cacao Congress, which opens Friday and will run until Saturday at SMX Convention Center will be participated in by some 500 to 700 expected cacao exporters, traders, growers, and technicians not just in the country but also from foreign countries.

Turtur said that Japan, Europe and US traders have confirmed attendance during the industry's big event. United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (Usda-FAS) counselor Ralph Bean will talk on the cocoa and chocolate market in the US, while Peter Van Grinsven, director of cocoa sustainability of Mars, Inc. will discuss on the updates on world market and supply, and demand on cocoa quality.

Keynote speakers like Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chair of Senate committee on food and agriculture; Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala; Francis Pangilinan, chair of Philippine Coconut Authority and presidential adviser for Food Security and Agri Mechanization; and key players in the industry will grace the event.

The Cacao Double-Up Program of the Mindanao Development Authority, cacao branding and the business matching of multinational cacao export companies will also take centerstage during the congress.

The congress for this year carries the theme: "Enhancing Productivity: Key to Sustainable Cacao Industry." The organizers are expecting around 500 to 700 visitors.

At present, Davao Region has a total of 23,000 hectares, 6,000 has of which is from Davao City with some 16,000 farmers.
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