Cacao, potential agri flagship program
Intercropping of cacao should be the initial flagship program of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s development on the local agricultural sector, Ernesto Ordoñez said in a publication.
About 4 million local coconut farmers are working on lands that are almost idle, with unutilized soil in between planted coconut trees. Cacao intercropping for these idle areas should be the incoming administration’s initial program, says Ordoñez.
Last April 26, roadmap for cacao intercropping was approved, in coordination with DA, DTI and the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI).
Without intercropping, an average farmer only earns an average of P20,000. Under this structure, a farmer can get a loan of P66,000, and can start gaining an initial income of P18,161 in the second year, and P130,313 in the fifth year.
However, among the target 100,000 hectares for the original plan, only 20% was accomplished over the last four years. Given this turnaround time, it would take another 16 years to complete the roadmap.
National Cacao Industry Council co-chair Valente Turtur said that the biggest predicament in implementing the project was to find sources for the loans of the remaining 80,000 hectares.Given the requirement, approximately P5.3 billion is required for the remaining loans.
Technical assistance, market, funds has always been available for the cacao intercropping program, Ordoñez added. The only lacking element was “political will”.