DTI to bring ‘Kakao Konek’ to Iloilo to boost cacao industry
The campaign to grow cacao in Panay Island is going fast-paced, even as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here is now gearing to host the “Kakao Konek” that will allow marketing and technology matching October this year.
Engineer Diosdado Cadena, DTI Iloilo director and at the same time regional cacao industry cluster coordinator for Western Visayas, on Monday said that it was agreed that Iloilo will host the Cacao Congress for the Visayas regions during their planning this month.
He said that this will put to test whether or not stakeholders in the region are really committed in promoting the industry.
“This will open them a marketing opportunity,” he said.
Cadena said that he hoped to gather the support of the Iloilo provincial government, which is very strong in advocating for cacao, the Panay Organic Producers Association (POPA), Regional Cacao Council and the Department of Agriculture (DA) in hosting the Visayas-wide congress.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that the Regional Cacao Council is now in the process of validating the plan at the regional level to harmonize with that of the provincial. A provincial council is now in place in four provinces of Panay.
During the validation they would also determine projects that will be implemented in every stage of the value-chain starting from inputs to the marketing aspect to strengthen the industry.
“The data would show that there is a market, especially the international market, but the problem is the input,” he said.
Philippines is one of the few countries where cacao can grow because it only thrives in equatorial countries, he explained. However, the production in Western Visayas is still very limited.
He added that the country is expected to produce around 100,000 metric tons of cacaos for processing in 2020. The region is expected to contribute around one to three metric tons.
Nonetheless, he added that there are several issues that have to be resolved to further improve the cacao industry in the region.
These include among others the identification of areas where the commodity will thrive, sourcing of planting materials and the survival rate.
In an earlier interview, Relvin B. Paragua, Focal Person for Coffee and Cacao of DA in Western Visayas revealed that this year, they have 500,278 grafted seedlings that are available for free to interested farmers.
Cadena and Paragua, however, shared that they have to embark on data banking to determine the number of farmers who are into cacao growing.
Paragua said that Western Visayas is now producing almost two tons based on their field validation.
Cadena said that probably they could start by determining the coverage of their cacao council members. (PNA)