Traders to convert 2-hectare land in Carcar into Cacao demo farm

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VYING to be a major cacao supplier to the world market, a group of businessmen in Cebu is developing a two-hectare land in Valladolid, Carcar City into a cacao techno-demo farm.

According to Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 Director Salvador Diputado, the group, headed by hotelier Benny Que and other businessmen, will receive support from the agriculture department through solar panels, machinery, seedlings and technical skills training.

“Idle lands in Valladolid, Carcar will be utilized. During our initial inspection, the cacao nursery is feasible since the property has its own source of water and the cacao seedlings will be inter-cropped with banana trees (to provide shade),” Diputado told SunStar Cebu.

A target to plant one million cacao trees is also in the works.

The group formed Philippine Integrated Agriventures Cooperative whose application is still pending with the Cooperative Development Authority.

One of its board of directors, Rey Calooy, said the development will house a cacao nursery, a cacao farm academy and an agri-tourism demo farm with an “adopt-a-cacao program.”

Calooy said they are also looking at establishing a chocolate processing plant and a cafe as future ventures.

“It will be an all-around cacao experience,” he said.

The group conducted a ceremonial watering of the cacao seedlings with Diputado on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

Through the project, Calooy said they are hoping it will boost the cacao industry in Cebu and generate jobs and income.

“By 2030, a shortage of cacao will be expected in the world market. We are hoping to supply to countries like South Korea and China which are huge markets for chocolate and they are near us,” he said.

The group also coordinated with Carcar City Mayor Mercedita Apura to propagate cacao farming in the city.

“Carcar is known for its chicharon and ampao. Soon, chocolate will be added to that, especially since agriculture is deemed recession-proof, and it is a way of healing nature and helping against climate change,” he said.

The group already potted 50,000 seedlings and is aiming to reach 150,000 to fully utilize the property.