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Cacao growers in Calabarzon remain key players in PH’s cacao industry

LUCENA CITY (PIA) – Cacao production in the Calabarzon region remains on track as a significant player in the country’s growing cacao industry.

Me-Ann Balmes of the Department of Agriculture’s high value crops division said the government continues to provide support to cacao farmers noting the industry’s potential despite challenges such as disasters and long dry seasons.

“Kita natin ‘yung magandang potensyal ng cacao dito sa Calabarzon. At kapag may mga bagyo naman ay full support lagi si DA, may nakaabang laging suporta, serbisyo, at assistance para makabangon ulit ‘yung ating mga cacao farmer,” Balmes said. 

The DA has described Quezon province as a growing powerhouse for cacao production in the country.

Cacao farming is concentrated in nine towns of Quezon province namely: Atimonan, Plaridel, Lopez, Gumaca, Perez, Calauag, Tagkawayan, Guinayangan, and Quezon.

In 2016, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry developed a Cacao industry roadmap that provided a direction in sustaining a globally competitive Philippine Cacao Industry. The roadmap from 2017-2022 included a cacao challenge which involved producing 100,000 MT (metric tons) of cacao beans by 2022.

Under the cacao challenge, the country’s 17 regions committed to produce cacao beans by percentage share from the national target. Davao region, the country’s top cacao producer, accounted for 60% or 60,000 MT of the total target while the remaining 40% were distributed to other regions from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The Calabarzon region was able to produce 914 MT out of its 2,000 MT target or 2% of the total cacao production.

Balmes noted several factors that came into play in the region’s low cacao productivity such as natural disasters and low demand which made farmers lose interest in planting cacao seeds. 

“Namumunga na [ang mga cacao] kaso kapag naapektuhan ng bagyo titigil na naman. Mare-rehabilitate ‘yung mga apektadong cacao, kaya start na naman ulit tayo ng isang taon bago bumalik ‘yung production,” she said. 

Balmes said this became a cycle for cacao growers in Quezon province.

“Pero kung makikita natin yung data from 2017 to 2022, hindi naman ganoon natin masasabing bumaba. Kita naman natin sa trend na tumataas ‘yung production,” she added.

The DA also continues to provide their support and services to aid affected farmers in recovering and growing their crops. 

Balmes said the most common request from farmers are fertilizers and other farming equipment such as pruning shears and saws, and other materials in maintaining their crops. The Agriculture Department also provides trainings to help farmers maximize these inputs. 

“Nakapaimportante ng mga training dahil mahirap kung magbibigay lang ng suportang fertilizer, pero hindi alam ng mga farmer kung paano ito gagamitin,” she added. 

In 2020, the DA granted a processing facility and equipment worth P1.5-M to the Four K Kakao Farm as part of its Regional High-Value Crops Development Program. The Four K Kakao Farm of Gumaca produces the famous Tangerine chocolate which received support from then Quezon Representative-now Governor Angelina ‘Helen’ Tan. (PB)

About the Author

Christopher Hedreyda

Region 4A

Provincial Information Center Manager, PIA Laguna

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