Cacao Developemnt in Davao Region
The DIDP-PMO attended the Philippines Cocoa Investment and Development Workshop on April 28-29, 2011 at Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City. This event was organized by the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) and drew over a hundred farmers, traders, growers, cooperative managers, foreign buyers, researchers, city officials and foreign commodity. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Counselor Philip Shull and Philippine Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Joel Rudinas were the keynote speakers.
In his message, Dir. Shull said that the local cacao industry cannot move forward fast enough unless more private investors both from overseas and this country pour more investments in this emerging industry. He stressed that the strongest key to fast-tracking and sustaining the development of the Philippines cacao industry is "private investments" that will provide the needed capital for putting up massive cacao nurseries, land development, building fermentation plants and getting regular farm inputs. The Philippines has remained one of the world's largest markets for US-made food and beverages and he wants to see this country become a key global supplier of fermented cacao beans, the raw materials used in making world-class chocolates like Hershey's, M&M, etc. To help develop the Philippine cacao industry, USDA funds are used to support the activities of ACDI-VOCA, a global non-profit organization that helps farmers' cooperatives worldwide in producing high-value agricultural crops.
The workshop culminated with the establishment of a new association of Mindanao-based cocoa stakeholders, the Philippine Cocoa Industry Association, and a cocoa study tour for the participants.
Cacao is highly prized because of its beans which are processed into cocoa products such as butter, powder, paste/liquor and chocolate confectionery. In the Philippines, most of the beans produced by small holders are mostly made into tablea, a native chocolate confection. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter are widely used in food products; cocoa butter is also used as a base for moisturizers, cosmetics, and suppositories. Cocoa seed and cocoa seed coat are used to treat intestinal conditions; diarrhea; liver, bladder and renal disease; and diabetes.
The Department of Agriculture XI (DA XI) is pushing the establishment of the Davao Region as a coffee and cacao production area. Under DA's seeds distribution program, cacao and coffee seedlings are included as choice planting materials plus technical assistance and technologies. The agency is also expanding cacao and coffee farms in Davao City and the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
The Upland Farming Model Villages Project under the Integrated Food Security Program of the DIDP supports the establishment of cacao plantations in Brgy. Sergio Osmeña, Gov. Generoso; Brgy. Don Mariano Marcos, Lupon; Brgy. New Calape, Montevista; Brgy. San Miguel, San Isidro (Davao del Norte); Brgy. Cogon, Island Garden City of Samal; and, Brgy. Marilog, Davao City.
The DIDP PMO also endorsed the proposal on cacao production under the in Canidkid, Montevista under the Industrial Agriculture component of the DIDP IFSP to DA HVCDP which was approved last June 15, 2011. (Portions of this article were extracted from( www.sourcephilfood.com, www.cocoaphil.org, www.thesuccessalliance.org )