Editorial: Bright prospects for cacao industry

Cacao, commonly called cocoa, is economically significant to the Philippine agriculture sector, with the rising demand for cocoa and cocoa-based products in both domestic and global markets. There are cacao products worldwide and the market for the demand sets its eyes on the Philippines.

Cacao beans are used in manufacturing chocolate. A cacao tree can bear beans all-year-round one and a half years after planting but it becomes more productive after three years. More cacao trees are now being planted in line with the 2020 goal of the industry to supply 100,000 metric tons of dried cacao beans per year for the world market.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources started the planting of six million cacao trees in 2012. As cacao trees can be planted along with other trees, the country's over two million hectares of coconut plantations are utilized for inter-cropping cacao.

Many areas in Davao City, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley have been planted of cacao. The Davao region now provides 70 percent of the total cacao production of the country. There are 110 identified cacao nurseries in the region - 70 in Davao City, 12 in Davao del Sur, six in Davao Oriental, five in Davao del Norte, and 16 in Compostela Valley. The Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao is helping the local farmers with new technology.

We congratulate the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources led by Secretary Ramon J. Paje, and other Officers and Personnel, in their collective efforts to better improve the quality of cacao in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!