Negros Occidental needs seedlings to boost local cacao production

June 24, 2015 10:09 am 

By Erwin P. Nicavera

BACOLOD CITY, June 23 (PNA) — The growing number of cacao farmers in Negros Occidental has led to higher demand for seedlings, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said.

Marjo Balinas, OPA provincial coordinator for cacao, banana and coffee, said many planters have already expressed interest in cacao growing, but there is no source of seedlings in the province.

Cacao seedlings can only be sourced from Davao and Cebu.

Balinas said that since many planters have now seen the potential of cacao industry, production in the province, like coffee, has gone on rehabilitation stage.

Some have already started developing their plantation sites, he added.

Balinas noted that since 10 years ago, Western Visayas has already experienced shortage in cacao due to the growing demand of bakery and pastry industry.

Negros Occidental is still getting supply of cacao from other provinces, he said.

“In order to meet our local demand, mass plantation and production are needed,” Balinas said.

Data from OPA indicate that there are only five to 10 hectares of cacao plantation in the province, smaller than that of coffee, banana and other major crops.

These are sporadic plantations thus, there is still no strong organization of cacao growers in the province, Balinas said.

He said they are requesting interested farmers to lobby with the provincial government and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for support like provision of planting materials especially seedlings.

“We are also appealing to the farmers to organize a solid group and help us come up with a project proposal that will include vital information, particularly how many seedlings are needed for how many hectares of cacao plantation in the province,” he added.

Moreover, Balinas said OPA’s annual proposal to the DA includes measures for the development of cacao industry in Negros Occidental.(PNA)

CTB/NLG/EPN

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