Engr. Genna Jallorina, Provincial Science and Technology director, said that they are pushing hard for cacao production in Ifugao through the establishment of nursery, plantation and as well as processing facilities.
“The elevation and climate in the province is very conducive for cacao production so let’s not waste this opportunity. We hope that those who did not yet plant cacao will plant also,” she said.
Jallorina said that they started with a small group with around 10 members but with the implementation of various programs many were encouraged to join.
“We are asking your help to make Ifugao a cacao producing province and we will be expecting cacao products from farmers,” she said as she assured that DOST will provide the necessary assistance for such endeavor.
To provide cacao farmers more knowledge about the industry, the DOST recently conducted techno-demo on cacao post harvest processing and training on tablea production.
Engr. Andres Tuate, Jr, cacao focal person of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), informed that the Philippines was the first to plant cacao in Asia with production concentrated in Mindanao.
With the growing demand for cocoa beans and cocoa-based products, government agencies and private sectors are converging their efforts to boost the cacao industry in the country with its great potential in creating livelihood and job opportunities that contribute to poverty alleviation and economic growth especially in the rural areas.
“The challenge now is to produce 100,000 metric tons of fermented beans by year 2022 for export and domestic markets through a 40% annual increase in production,” Tuate said. By Marcelo B. Lihgawon (JDP/MB-PIA CAR, Ifugao)