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DTI promotes cacao industry in Western Visayas
« on: January 03, 2017, 06:12:55 PM »
DTI promotes cacao industry in Western Visayas

ILOILO CITY, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here is working closely with the Department of Agriculture (DA) in promoting the cacao industry in Western Visayas.

The production and plantation aspect is being handled by DA. DTI will come in during the processing and marketing aspect, according to DTI Iloilo director Diosdado Cadena Jr. in today’s yearend gathering with the local media. Cadena is the regional coordinator of DTI’s cacao development program.

Cacao industry is one of the priority programs of DTI nationwide as they see the big potential of the commodity, he explained.

“The dominant province where cacao is grown and with potential is in Iloilo,” he said.

Currently, DTI is in the process of conducting an inventory to determine the existing and potential capacity of Western Visayas to produce cacao and have it processed into tablea or later on fine chocolate, he revealed.

Cadena revealed that DA targets to distribute 500,000 cacao seedlings next year in Panay Island. It will take around two-and-a-half year or three years for the cacao to bear fruit although there are already existing plantations.

DTI regional director Rebecca Rascon added their department has already embarked on benchmarking where cacao farmers are brought to Davao for them to get inspired by the industry’s success stories and conducted training on good agriculture practice.

Cacao thrives in African countries but there are varieties that are thriving in the Philippines. The world market puts a premium to Philippine chocolate, according to Rascon.

Two weeks ago, a strategic planning with the participation of stakeholders was conducted while the Regional Cacao Council was organized in Western Visayas in July this year.

“One of our take offs here is the conduct of the value-chain analysis where we determine the value adding requirement of the processes involved starting from plantation up to post-harvest,” Rascon said.

She said that the promotion of the industry will continue to become part of the priority programs of DTI next year. (PNA)

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