MOA to boost Mindanao’s cacao industry

THE Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will ink the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the implementation of Cacao Double-Up Program during the Regional Cacao Stakeholders' Congress slated at Grand Men Seng Hotel tomorrow.

Minda Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz said Wednesday the program is aimed at increasing the level of cacao production nationwide, especially in Mindanao where the largest cacao producing area is found particularly Davao Region, which contributes 90 percent to the country's total production.

"The program (Cacao Double-Up) is designed to double up and even surpass the country's current cacao production," she said.

The country’s total cacao production is pegged at some 10,000 metric tons (MT) in 2014.

The program is also in partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology (Dost) and the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami).

"We are targeting some P1 billion budget for 2016, including overhead cost, support services, trainings, monitoring, tracking, and all other needs," she said, adding that the total budget cost will depend on the first phase of the program implementation.

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, DA undersecretary and Philippine Rural Development Project director Emerson U. Palad and Minda Secretary Luwalhati Antonino will grace the congress and MOA signing.

The projected global demand of the cacao industry is pegged at 5 million MT with global deficit of 1 million MT. The country through the program is targeted to contribute 100,000 MT annual production by 2020.

The program will cover a total of 200,000 hectares and will target to plant 100 million cacao trees. Under the program the cacao seedlings are targeted to be intercropped with the coconuts trees.

It will be composed of three phases, the production, processing and the marketing stage.

Meanwhile, some 600 cacao stakeholders are expected to join the regional Cacao Stakeholders' Congress which centers on the theme: "Positioning Davao Region as the country's cacao capital."

DA, through the High Value Crops Development Program, positioned cacao as one of the priority commodities in the country.

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