Caraga region to hit target in 2018 for cacao production

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THE CARAGA Region, one of the areas identified as suitable for increasing cacao production, may achieve its targeted output next year, industry officials said.

Under the region’s Cacao Industry Roadmap 2017-2022, the target for the region is 3,000 metric tons (MT) of dried fermented cacao beans by the end of the five-year cycle.

“However, with the concerted efforts of the council and the various government agencies involved, this target just might be achieved by next year,” Christopher Lindo, who chairs the Caraga Cacao Industry Council, said in a Tuesday statement.

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that Caraga produced 60 MT in 2015 with 1,252 hectares planted to cacao.

Caraga is composed of five provinces – Agusan del Norte and Sur, Surigao del Norte and Sur, and the Dinagat Islands.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Caraga also pledged to distribute cacao planting materials up to the year 2022 to support the industry.

“We are very willing to extend our help for the cacao industry. Our objectives are on the same page that is to help the poor,” DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said in the statement.

Engineer Edwin O. Banquerigo, Department of Trade and Industry National Cacao Cluster Coordinator, also noted that the creation of the Cacao Industry Development Council in each region “has been a big help in developing and strengthening the country’s cacao industry” not only in the Caraga region but across the country.

“[T]here is already a convergence of the public and private sectors especially since the council is co-chaired by the Department of Agriculture and other government agencies are also members,” Mr. Banquerigo was quoted as saying.

According to Mr. Banquerigo, the Philippines had total production of 5,000 MT per year before the industry clustering approach was adopted.

At present, the country’s average production is at 10,000 to 12,000 MT a year. – Janina C. Lim