DAVAO CITY-based Kennemer Foods Int'l, Inc. (KFI) will be utilizing 8,000 hectares nationwide for cacao plantation. These areas are mostly located in Mindanao.

KFI president Simon Bakkersaid most of the plantation will be in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Compostella Valley, and Agusan del Sur. They will also have plantations in the southern part of Palawan.

Bakker said the expansion will help address the looming threat of cacao bean shortage.

"There is growth in the demand for cacao in Asia like in India and China and there is a trend for demand of dark chocolate," he said.

Bakker said while there is growth in the demand of cacao, the production is not keeping up with the demand.

"We need new countries to supply cacao like the Philippines," he said.

The 8,000-hectare property to be planted this year will bring them closer to their goal of utilizing 50,000 hectares for cacao production nationwide in the next five years. Bakker said 80% of the plantations will mostly be located in Mindanao.

Last year they planted some 4,000 has. of cacao nationwide and are planning to plant in some 10,000 has. next year. He said half of the planned 10,000 has. next year will be in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.

They are also looking into expanding to other areas in Mindanao like Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga City.

Asisde frm plantations in Mindano, they also have plantations in other areas in the country like Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and Southen Leyte.

Recently, they entered a cacao production and purchase agreement with the local government of Marihatag. According to the agreement they will be purchasing cacao from the LGU and at the same time provide them assistance like technical and access to finance. Meanwhile the LGU will exclusively sell the cacao beans to KFI.