FIESTA underscores importance of cacao industry
THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND for cocoa is estimated to reach between 4.7 million and 5 million metric tons (MT) by 2020.
However, a cocoa global shortage has been predicted at about 1 million metric tons for the same period.
In the Philippines alone, the local consumption was estimated at 50,000 MT every year, and the local supply is only around 10,000 MT.
Cocoa is the seed of the cacao tree which contains a lot of fat, and is used to produce cocoa butter, which is then used to produce chocolate.
Aside from producing chocolate, cacao is now often used in the processing of food, beverage, cosmetics, and even pharmaceuticals.
To avoid the impending deficit, the country is compelled to produce at least 100,000 MT of fermented beans for the export and domestic markets by 2020.
In an effort to boost the country’s production of cocoa, a technology diffusion platform was held to promote the cacao industry in the country.
Called the Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA), the event provides technology, information, and knowledge on cacao production.
The event also aims to inspire businesses that use its byproducts, such as the cacao fermented beans and cacao tablea, for the interest of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Davao City-based Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC) spearheaded the recent two-day activity which was held in Mati City, Davao Oriental.
Aside from production concerns, the event dubbed “Wow! FIESTA Cacao sa Dabaw 2018” also aimed to improve the visibility and marketability of technologies generated for the cacao products by matching them with potential markets, processors, investors, and the local consumers.
Among the attendees in the event included Davao Oriental
State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST) president Dr. Edito B. Sumile; Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) deputy executive director for administration, resource management and support services (officer-in-charge) Dr. Melvin B. Carlos; PCAARRD Applied Communication Director Marita A. Carlos; and SMAARRDEC Consortium Director Danilo B. Pacoy, who represented Regional Research and Development Coordinating Council Chair (RRDCC); and University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) President, Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao.
Representatives of Davao Oriental Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang and Mati City Mayor Carlo Luis P. Rabat also attended the event.
During the opening ceremony, Carlos served as the “Gong Man” who signalled the official opening of the event, at the same time, delivered the message of PCAARRD acting executive director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora.
“We hope that FIESTA can help in further strengthening Davao Region’s competitive advantage, particularly in cacao production. May this FIESTA be instrumental in the dissemination of R&D results from production to postharvest processing, including promotion and marketing,” Ebora said in his message read by Carlos.
The event tackled vital issues and concerns on production such as the Science and Technology Communitybased Farm (STCBF) on Improved Integrated Crop Management Practices for Cacao Rehabilitation in Mati City, Davao Oriental; Cacao Production Protocol and Crop Maintenance; and Growing Cacao amidst Climate Change.
For the commercialization and marketing side, the topics covered Local and International Marketing of Cacao and Price Volatility.
Following the event, a farm tour was also conducted at the Mayo & Macatora Organic Farm, a science and technology community-based farm collaborator.
Part of the Cacao FIESTA was an exhibit which was participated by the DOSTPCAARRD, Agricultural Training Institute, The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Philippine Coconut Authority-Davao Research Center, Bureau of Plant Industry-Davao National Crop Research, Development and Production Support Center, Davao del Norte State College, Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology, USeP, Mining and Degraded Areas Rehabilitation Research Center, Department of Trade and Industry, Compostela Valley State College, Province of Davao Oriental, Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc., and Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology.
During the event, the DOST-PCAARRD presented its frontline services, biological-based approaches for cacao pest management, and a video about the Cacao Industry Strategic S&T Plan (ISP).
PCAARRD also provided flyers on basic information on cacao, dubbed “nature’s brown gold,” and cacao pest and disease management.
The event was held in Davao Oriental to highlight its niche for having the highest total area planted with cacao, which was recorded at 6,920 hectares.
Aside from producing chocolate, cacao is now often used in the processing of food, beverage, cosmetics, and even phamaceuticals.
PCAARRD-ACD Director Marita A. Carlos and PCAARRD officer-in-charge deputy executive director for Administration, Resource Management and Support Services Dr. Melvin B. Carlos served as speakers during the event’s media conference.
The “Wow! FIESTA Cacao sa Dabaw 2018” aims to improve the visibility and marketability of technologies generated for the cacao products by matching them with potential markets, processors, investors, and the local consumers. This also provides technology, information, and knowledge on cacao production.
Jamsie Joy Perez of the PCAARRD-ACD shows a native tray filled with different varieties of cacao pods and beans.