DILIMAN, Quezon City – Cacao is a cash crop that can provide good income. With its short gestation period, a farmer can earn up to Php150,000 from a hectare of cacao.
Its production, market potentials, and processing were some of the major points discussed during the last of the series of free seminars of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in 2018.
Various cacao experts were invited to talk about a list of topics on cacao production and processing. Kennemer Foods International, Inc. technical manager, Pedro Cruz, presented the cacao production and market potentials.
He shared some good agricultural practices in cacao production such as the provision of shade and what kinds of crops are suitable for intercropping.
He also stressed that cacao is a good choice since the Philippines has the ideal climatic conditions for growing this crop. Aside from this, cacao beans are the main ingredient in many products ranging from food to cosmetics. The most popular of which is chocolates made from cacao mass, cacao butter, and sugar.
Cacao production also has support from the government for it is an integral part of various programs and projects. Some of these are the Department of Agriculture-High Value Commercial Crops, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Greening Program, Philippine Coconut Authority’s Kasaganahan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan, Land Bank of the Philippines - Cacao 100 and many others. By 2020, it is estimated that the demand for cacao will reach up to five million metric tons, a good business opportunity for smallholder farmers engaged in cacao.
Meanwhile, Rose Dela Cruz and Joycedel Macias, chocolate researchers from Biao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative showed the participants the processing of chocolate from cacao beans. Some of the attendees even joined the hands-on activity on chocolate preparation.
ATI Officer-in-Charge Director Luz Taposok graced the opening program of the event and encouraged the participants to share their learning with their families and friends, “You can serve as our multipliers and mentors to those farmers and individuals interested in cacao.”
About 230 individuals interested in cacao farming attended the free seminar that was held at the ATI Rural Development Education Center on November 9, 2018. They expressed appreciation for the free seminar and looked forward to the 2019 series.