The province of Capiz needs more cacao planters to develop the crop as a local industry, said Dr. Rose Marie Conlu, Capiz Cacao Development Council (CCDC) chairperson.
“In order to make this into an industry, we need around 250,000 trees,” Conlu noted during a recent fellowship activity of the Provincial Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Council at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Provincial Office.
She added that about 34,000 of the estimated 124,000 cacao trees in the province are already bearing fruits.
Cacao buying stations have already been established in the province where farmers can sell their cacao harvest as an alternative source of income.
“A price per kilogram of wet and dry cacao seeds averages at P30.00 and P40.00, respectively,” said Capiz Small Coconut Farmers Marketing Cooperative (CASCOFAMCO) secretary Jovelyn Nobleta.
The cooperative, based at Brgy. Ondoy in Ivisan town, is among the 12 cacao buying stations established by Villa Maria Farm and Orchard based in Pontevedra town.
The cacao seeds are then processed into into cacao – based tablea or chocolate tablets and other cacao beans by-products particularly on beauty health and wellness and handicrafts, among others.
Nobleta said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and CASCOFAMCO have entered into an agreement for the intercropping of cacao in Malocloc Sur, Ivisan this year.
The initiative complements the cacao intercropping program of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in identified coconut plantations, some local government units and farmers in the province.
Capiz along with the provinces of Aklan, Antique and Iloilo is a potential area for cacao production in the region.PIA-6