THE regional office of Department of Agriculture (DA 11) has convened the local chief executives of Davao del Norte for cacao value chain analysis report presentation held at Davao de Norte (DavNor) Sports Complex, Tagum City recently.

This report was the result of the conducted Cacao Stakeholders' Forum by DA 11 last month where the gaps and constraints of the industry key players were identified.

The constraints in the value chain development of cacao include lack of good quality high yielding varieties and planting materials, limited availability of organic inputs, technology gap in production phase, lack of access to post-harvest facilities, low farmers' awareness on post-harvest practices, market pricing and transport and accessibility, among others.

DA 11 will addressed these constraints through the improvement of access and availability of fertilizer and inputs appropriate for cacao smallholders; affordable and good quality planting materials;improvement of flow and quality of extension services for cacao farming and adoption of good practices; increase of capacity and ability to produce cocoa beans of consistent quality and as per market standards; improvement of cooperation and organizational capacity of farmers and increase of cacao plantation areas.

Due to its suitability and market potential, cacao was chosen by DA 11 as the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) of Davao del Norte to be heightened through different programs and projects under the Philippine Rural Development Program(PRDP) assisted by World Bank.

"Once approved by PRDP, we are targeting the idle areas of San Isidro, Kapalong, and Asuncion for the proposed expansion of 4,000 hectares in cacao plantation out of the value chain analysis integrated in the PCIP", Agriculture Regional Director Remelyn Recoter said.

Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics reported that in 2008-2012, Davao Region contributed 77 percent of Cacao beans in the country followed by Northern Mindanao with 5 percent, Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao with 2 percent each and other regions in the country with contribution in total of 12 percent.