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Written and Photos, Taken by Luzminda Tamayo

Engr. Redelliza A. Gruezo, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) Coordinator, led the conduct of the stakeholders’ consultation cum planning workshop on cacao held at Hotel Dominique, Tagaytay City, Cavite on August 14 – 15, 2018.

In the said consultation, Gruezo discussed the objectives of the activity which is to know how far cacao or cacao industry has gone in the region and what are the needs of the cacao growers’ associations in order to level up their production to be competitive if possible in the global market.

Mary Ann Mada from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) presented the regional cacao road map while Crystal Jade Padonan of Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) I-Plan Component tackled cacao value chain analysis. Cecille Marie Manzanilla, Chief of Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC), discussed cacao pests and diseases and Daisynette Manalo, Senior Science Research Specialist of Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC) did the presentation of researches on cacao.

Planning workshop followed thereafter which was administered by Malou Mendoza of Regional Cacao Council. All cacao growers’ associations aired their issues, concerns, and other inputs regarding plans for the development of the cacao industry.

On the second day, the following topics were tackled: market opportunities – Basil Balinao from Sierra Madre Cacao Company and Marvin Vicedo of Ben & Lyn Chocolate, Inc.; financing/credit programs – John Axel Melendres of Landbank of the Philippines; and insurance program – Ferdinand Evasco from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

The consultation was attended by about 90 participants from the five provinces of CALABARZON composed of cacao growers, traders, processors, provincial HVCDP/cacao focal persons/coordinators, city and municipal agriculturists (CAs and MAs), and agricultural program coordinating officers (APCOs).

Representatives of other agencies like DTI, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) also attended the activity.