By Ma. Edelyn Bongalos
“IF you want to learn and be an effective Cacao grower, you have to study both the in and out of it wholeheartedly,” inspiringly shared by Department of Agriculture Undersecretary of High Value Crops and Rural Credits Evelyn Laviña.
With the developing economy of the cacao industry to some regions in the Philippines like Davao, Cagayan Valley, ARMM and SOOCSKSARGEN, it is in no doubt that Cacao has great potential in the province of Camarines Sur as well.
With this, the Department of Agriculture Region V in partnership with the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur held the Cacao Stakeholders Forum last October 11, 2018 at the Zeach Bar, CWC, Cadlan, Pili. The event was actively participated in by the Cacao growers, stakeholders and potential investors of Cacao productions in Camarines Sur.
Primarily, the forum tackled the cultural growing and management of cacao, the good agricultural practices (GAP) of cacao and its production as well as the status of Cacao industry in the Bicol region.
Usec. Laviña further pointed out the trends and opportunities that Camarines Sur could tapby investing in Cacao. She said, “We promote quantity over quality of our cacao, that’s why we are after the production of high-quality cacao and its by-products that we can sell locally and internationally.”
Cacao is also known as the “tree of love” and food of the Gods. Out of this tree, dried and fermented cacao seeds are being used to make chocolates. It is often applied in food, beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.
Usec. Laviña also explained the advantages of the Philippine Cacao Roadmap, signed by Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Jr. witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 7, 2017 to craft and to provide a harmonized direction and strategies towards development and strengthening of the industry.
The forum alsoaddressed concerns on the challenges of the promotion of the cacao industry in CamSur, how the government can support, explicate existing support mechanism for cacao industry development, and determine ways to enhance these support mechanism so the stakeholders can get better opportunities in pushing locally-initiated cacao industry development efforts.