ZAMBOANGA FARMERS GO FOR CACAO
CITING THE PROJECTED world shortage of at least one million metric tons of cacao by 2020, it is very interesting to note that about 300 farmers, professionals, and other stakeholders in Zamboanga City have shown interest in the planting of cacao trees. Around 3.5 million tons of cocoa are produced each year; however, rising incomes in emerging markets, combined with the anticipated economic recovery of rich nations, have led to forecasts of a 30 percent growth in demand for cacao to more than 4.5 million tons by 2020.
With this projected growth in demand for cacao, an orientation and training on sustainable cacao production was held recently at the AHS Cacao Nursery in the village of Ayala in Zamboanga City.
However, complacency and disregard for the livelihoods of small-scale farmers who contribute greatly to the world’s cocoa demand would mean that the industry may simply be unable to provide a sufficient supply to meet the demand.
The Golden Beans Eco-Agro Producers Cooperative (GBEAPC), in cooperation with the local Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CENRO), conducted a three-day forum featuring vital topics such as cacao planting, the increasing demand of cacao (both locally and internationally), and its economic contribution to mankind. As a gesture of government support, DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Zamboanga City Ben Acana outlined the role of his office in the propagation of cacao trees in the region. He asserted that
Retired police chief superintendent Angelo H. Sunglao (right) and DENR-Zamboanga City CENRO Ben Acana posing beside a flowering cacao tree at the AHS Cacao Nursery in Ayala, Zamboanga City.