The Philippine Star

Quezon eyed as new cacao hub

- – Louise Maureen Simeon

The government is looking at the province of Quezon as a new hub for cacao production in the country.

Cacao farming is being promoted in the towns of Atimonan, Plaridel, Lopez, Gumaca, Perez, Calauag, Tagkawayan, Guinayanga­n and Quezon.

The Department of Agricultur­e recently inaugurate­d a cacao facility in Gumaca and the “Tangerine” chocolate products of the Four K Kakao Farm.

“Tangerine” is dark chocolate made by cacao farmers and members of the Kakao Integrated Developmen­t for Livelihood and Transforma­tion.

Agricultur­e Secretary William Dar called on farmers to intercrop cacao under coconut, as well as Cardava or saba bananas, and livestock to earn more income and add value to their enterprise.

“We must endeavor to make farming a profitable venture. Farmers should be open to and adopt innovative ideas and technologi­es,” Dar said.

The cacao facility in Gumaca also hosts the DA-Calabarzon’s technology demonstrat­ion farm and bud wood garden, with certified and tagged cacao varieties.

The DA granted the Four K Kakao Farm with a cacao processing facility and equipment worth P1.5 million for their chocolate production facility.

“This facility can later be expanded to include a coconut processing facility, and a banana tissue culture laboratory that will provide farmers free seedlings,” Dar said.

As coconut remains a major crop in Quezon, Dar said the Philippine Coconut Authority aims to increase the current productivi­ty of only 45 nuts per coconut tree annually to 150 to 200 nuts per tree through the promotion of more hybrid varieties.

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