Senator Villar inspires national cacao congress
(by Rodolfo P. Estigoy, PhD  8/16/2017)

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Cynthia A. Villar inspired the 800 participants of the national cacao congress held on August 8-9, 2017 at the Grand Convention Center, Cebu City. In her keynote speech she vowed to push the legislation of Senate Bill 320 otherwise known as Cacao Industry Development Act to harness the potential of cacao farming and production.

She noted that this is an exciting times for cacao industry in the Philippines because the global demand for cacao is increasing as well as the domestic requirements. The bill provides for a national program composed of different agencies led by the Department of Agriculture to educate all stakeholders in the industry ,collect and conduct relevant research and development work as well as market strategies and establishment of linkages for development and promotion of cacao. A hearing on the bill is scheduled on September 5, 2017.

During the congress, the national cacao road map was also presented by Mr. Valente Turtur, the Chairman of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council which organized the congress. In his presentation, the goal is to produce 100,000 MT of cacao beans in 2022, both for export and domestic market. At present, the country is only producing about 12,000 MT short of about 20,000MT of annual local requirements of 30,000MT.
Government agencies with programs on cacao development and promotion like Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry presented the current status of their programs and efforts including their future activities. Similarly, the Malaysian Cacao Development Industry Board was invited to share their experiences in the primordial importance of this Board in the development of Malaysian cacao.

Deputy Director Raul R. Paz, presented the recent Research, Development and Extension outputs on cacao to include the latest innovation along the supply chain of cacao. Also, Philmech R&D outputs on cacao were exhibited and displayed during the congress. Several stakeholders took keen interest on the emerging cacao technologies developed by Philmech through personal discussions with Engr. Andres Tuates, Cacao Focal Person during the two-day congress.

A series of cacao congresses called “Cacao Connect” is scheduled in different regions until the end of 2017.