Cacao hybrids successfully developed by Philippine university

·2 min read
A bunch of freshly picked cacao fruits. (Photo: Getty Images)
A bunch of freshly picked cacao fruits. (Photo: Getty Images)

A university in Mindanao has successfully cloned cacao and hybrids and breeding populations, in an effort to increase the country’s chocolate industry.

The Cacao Research and Development Center of the University of Southern Mindanao, through a funding grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Science for Change Program (S4CP), has successfully cloned 45 cacao and 13 hybrids and breeding population which, according to the DOST in a report, is key to developing higher quality cacao beans in Region XII.

Through this technology, cacao production and its profitability is expected to increase by 30% to 40%.

The Niche Centers in the Regions for R & D (NICER) were able to develop a pod breaker with a pod husk bean separator, a village-level drying facility, and a semi-automated fermenting beans to improve the quality of cacao beans.

“Through R & D, practical solutions are provided to challenges in agricultural process,” Dr. Lea J. Buendia, DOST’s Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation and the Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Undersecretary for R & D, said.

The funding for the project came from NICER, a subprogram of the DOST-S4CP, and continuously invests in science and technology programs to address the present and future challenges of local agricultural producers.

“The DOST-NICER Cacao R & D Center enables the development of varieties with superior traits like high yield, resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to abiotic stress,” Buendia said. “Cacao breeding is a necessary science to ensure the viability and profitability of this business to farmers and the local industry.”

On August 15 to September 15 this year, the DOST-S4CP shall open a Call for Proposals to support key sectors in Region XII and provide opportunities for Higher Education Institutions, government Research and Development Institutes, and non-profit Science and Tech networks who are seeking for funding for their own R & D initiatives not just in SOCCSKSARGEN but in all regions in the country.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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