The German government’s international development cooperation company, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Forest and Climate Protection in Panay (ForClim II) Project, and The Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (CocoaPHIL) will sign an agreement aimed at improving income of cocoa farmers in Panay Island through support for sustainable cacao production, management and marketing.
ForClim II Project principal advisor Dr. Klaus Schmitt and CocoaPHIL President Edward David signed the agreement on Tuesday at CocoaPhil’s office in Quezon City.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation,
Building and Nuclear Safety, the project assists marginal farmers in protecting and rehabilitating degraded forest lands and their buffer zones through enrichment planting, assisted natural regeneration, agro-forestry and upland agriculture to increase their income while mitigating climate change and conserving the area’s rich biodiversity.
CocoaPHIL is a non-profit organization established in 1993 to revive the flagging Philippine cocoa industry.
It supports Department of Agriculture (DA) Sustainable Cacao Project by addressing shortage of cacao in the Philippines and the world through training, consulting services and provision of planting materials.
Experts predict a one million metric ton (MT) global shortage of cocoa by 2020.
DA aims to raise local production from 10,000 MT to 12,000 MT of dried cocoa beans currently to 100,000 MT by 2020.
Current production is not even enough to satisfy the local demand of 30,000 MT per year.
The partnership will promote sustainable production, management and marketing of cocoa with the goal of contributing to and improving socio-economic conditions of upland farmers.
The German project will ensure coordination of activities with relevant authorities, provide technical and financial assistance to cocoa farmers and participate in monitoring of project success.
CocoaPHIL will provide technical expertise and know-how in cacao planting, management, value adding and processing.
It will provide training, make high-quality planting material available at cost, help link cacao farmers to marketing partners and purchase produced fermented or dried cacao beans that meet quality standards at prevailing market prices.
The CocoaPHIL-proposed cocoa development program will provide the farmers with opportunities to secure a more stable economic status.
On-farm and off-farm employment could be generated also through processing of locally sourced cacao beans by the domestic grinding and chocolate manufacturing sector and additional labor requirements due to production expansion.
Income should be derived also out of added value for organically grown cacao beans or processing cacao nibs made into “tablea” and other delicacies, creating small businesses in rural households.
A mutually beneficial outcome is expected from effective use of land to create economic wealth for the country and people while protecting the environment.