First Re­gion 3 Kakao Konek Congress

Agriculture - - Contents - BY ANGIE M. VENERACION

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.

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