First Region 3 Kakao Konek Congress
THE KAPAMPANGAN Development Foundation (KDF) in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 3 organized and hosted the first Region 3 Cacao Congress last August 1, 2016 at the Heroes Hall of the city of San Fernando, Pampanga. The KDF is a private organization that aims to promote health, education, and livelihood programs for Region 3, which covers Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Bataan, and Bulacan. These tasks are being undertaken through networking with different organizations and cooperation with different government agencies.
Since 2011, KDF has taken on the task of promoting the development of the fruit tree industry in Region 3.With the help of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), several training sessions on fruit tree propagation and the establishment of fruit tree nurseries were conducted in the region.The KDF-Satellite Nursery Association (KDF-SNA) was formed to organize those who participated in these training sessions and to further encourage farmers to establish fruit tree nurseries.
In 2015, KDF and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to introduce the large scale planting of coconut trees.One million free coconut seedlings will be provided by the PCA to Region 3 farmers. These coconut trees will be intercropped with other high value crops, specifically fruit trees like lanzones, rambutan, mangosteen, durian, and mangoes.
DA RFO3 has been promoting the planting of cacao in Region 3, particularly in Bataan and Aurora.
The Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI) invited KDF to attend the 2nd Kakao-Konek Congress in Davao in 2015, and the KDF quickly saw the wisdom in the intercropping of coconuts and cacao. It then joined with DA RFO3 to promote the massive planting of coconut trees intercropped with cacao.
Training sessions on cacao production were held in Pampanga through the joint efforts of KDF-SNA, farmer organization Alyansya Agrikultura (AA), DA RFO3, and PCA.The large turnout of interested farmers encouraged the group to continue promoting the endeavor. CIDAMI was on hand to provide support, technical expertise, and product development, as well as marketing inputs.
To consolidate all these efforts, the “First Region 3 Kakao-Konek Congress” was launched, patterned after the Davao Kakao-Konek Congress, with CIDAMI, AA,KDF, and DA RFO3cooperating. RDCs were tapped to generate participation.
The event also served as a selling exhibit, participated in by different companies from the region, to showcase the agricultural products of Region 3.Assorted agricultural and food products, ranging from meat and fish products, herbal products, soya, cacao, and chocolate products as well as buri products turned into export quality bags and wallets were displayed and sold.
Keynote speaker, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, discussed the Department’s program and priorities, with emphasis on going back to basics and food sufficiency. He said the Department would create a national color-coded Agriculture and Fisheries Map. A nationwide soil analysis would be undertaken to determine which products are best suited for planting in the different regions and communities in the Philippines, and he added that farmers will be encouraged to go into products that are in demand, both in local and foreign markets. Coconut and cacao are among these.
Other topics discussed during the Congress included a cacao industry situationer and National Industry Action Plan by Engr. Edwin Banquerigo, director of the DTI Davao and coordinator of the DTI National Cacao Industry Cluster; the international and local markets for cacao by May Lynne Lee, managing director of Kennemer Foods International; how national and regional cacao industry councils strengthened institutional mechanisms, and cacao good agricultural practices, bothdelivered by Valente Turtur, executive director of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI); sustainability for small farmers using the Chocolate de San Isidro model by Dante R. Muyco, Jr., president of CIDAMI; and post-harvest technologies for cacao by Engr. Andres Tuates of PHILMECH.
The KDF is confident that with support coming from government agencies like the DA, PCA, DTI, and BPI, and the efforts of the private sector composed of groups like KDF-SNA, AA, CIDAMI, Rotary Clubs, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, farmer cooperatives and organizations, the ambitious goal of planting one million coconut trees in Region 3 intercropped with cacao and other high-value fruit trees will be achieved.