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Department of Agriculture (DA), led by Secretary William D. Dar, together with DA CALABARZON, headed by Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa, joined the launch of the cacao by-product brand “Tangerine” chocolate of the Four K Kakao Farm and distributed Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginal Farmers and Fisherfolk (CFSMFF) to the 4th district of Quezon farmers on November 30, 2020, in Brgy. Villa Principe, Gumaca, Quezon.

“Tangerine, A taste of hope and happiness” is the brand of dark chocolate made by cacao farmers and members of the Kakao Integrated Development for Livelihood and Transformation, with the guidance and assistance of Congresswoman Angelina “Dra. Helen” DL. Tan, 4th district of Quezon representative.

The agriculture chief lauded the skills, diligence, and resilience of cacao farmers who are behind the success of the said cacao by-product brand.

“Binabati ko kayo [mga magkakakaw] sa pagkakaroon ng sarili ninyong brand ng tsokolate na maituturing na isa sa mga bunga ng inyong pagsusumikap na mapaunlad ang industriya ng kakaw…Patuloy kayong magsumikap at ‘wag mawalan ng pag-asa dahil ang pagkakaroon ng pag-asa ay makakatulong upang umahon ang sektor ng agrikultura at ang bansa; magsilbi nawa kayong mga haligi sa pag-unlad ng bansa,” Sec. Dar said during his speech.

At Four K Kakaw Farm, one hectare of land serves as DA CALABARZON’s technology demonstration farm and bud wood garden (with certified and tagged UF18 and BR25 cacao varieties). It can be recalled that the Department also granted the farm with cacao processing facility and equipment worth P1.5 million for their chocolate production through the Regional High Value Crops Development Program.

In conjunction with the product brand launch, P3,000 cash and P2,000 worth of rice, eggs, and chickens were given to each eligible farmer and fisher under the CFSMFF Program.
According to Director de Mesa, more than 81,000 farmers (corn, coconut, and sugarcane) and fishers in CALABARZON are expected to benefit from the said program.

Sec. Dar also presented other programs and services that the Department is ready to provide to farmers and fishers, such as the 1) SUrvival and REcovery Assistance Program (SURE Aid) in which eligible farmers and fishers can borrow up to P25,000 with no collateral, zero interest, and payable in 10 years; 2) cash assistance from excess rice tariff for small rice farmers; and 3) Enhanced KADIWA ni Ani at Kita Financial Grant Assistance Program. (ARC, DA-RAFIS)