The CALABARZON Cacao Industry Council met on 13 July 2017 at the El Cielito Hotel, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna to discuss the policy recommendations for presentation during the National Cacao Congress, which will be held on August 8-9 in Cebu.

calabarzon cacao industry council meeting
July 13, 2017 CALABARZON Cacao Industry Council Meeting

The council members are the CALABARZON private sector composed of cacao growers, nursery operators, and processors, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Economic Development Authority, Office of the Provincial Agriculture, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Philippine Statistics Authority, and the academe such as the University of the Philippines Los Banos.

“We need to have solid information in terms of market potential of cacao to share with the recipients of the seedlings for them to better understand the plants’ value. The cacao growers should be educated on the market first before production,” said Council Chair Marilou D. Mendoza, owner of Green Options Agricultural and Environmental Business Center.

Summary of the initial policy recommendations were: tagging of seedlings to identify varieties; conducting of training on cacao tree management and market and income opportunities to cacao growers; creating accreditation body, fair pricing, trading terms, specifications, and quality standards; adopting of the “Tanim mo, Bayad ko” Program where the propagation of seedlings is done by cacao growers; crafting of Executive Order supporting the cacao industry; mainstreaming of agriculture in the school curriculum; requesting for funds on research and development of criollo; having resolution on data gathering and harmonization at the national level; recognizing Region IV-A as the first place in Asia where cacao was planted; creating recommending body for list of cacao buyers in the region; providing organic fertilizer equipment to cacao grower association seedling beneficiaries; and shortening the process and lessening the requirements of financing institutions.

Currently, cacao provides vast opportunities in terms of export because of the impending global supply shortfall. The Philippines committed to produce 100,000 MT of fermented beans for the export and domestic markets through 40% annual increase in production by 2020 to help contribute to the global demand for cocoa. To support this goal, the CALABARZON region pledged to produce 2,000 metric tons of fermented beans by year 2022, which is equivalent to two million trees and 4,000 hectares of cacao plantation.