GIZ extends Panay cacao program

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THE Philippine government and Germany’s international cooperation agency aim to develop 2,000 hectares for planting cacao and coffee.

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The partnership is an extension of the Forest and Climate Protection in Panay (FCPP), funded by the Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), said Edward David,
Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil) president.

“The natural forest in Panay is the most important carbon sink in the region. Conservation is therefore vitally important. With the local people’s participation, forest land use plans are developed,” David note.

The FCPP II is a continuation of the first GIZ project with the same project name that had mustered support from Panay Island’s 20 local government units (LGUs) and their communities. Households have established 1,060 hectares of mixed forest and 890 hectares of agroforestry areas.

Under the program, Cocoaphil and the GIZ will plant 1,060 hectares with various species and 890 hectares of agroforestry areas in Panay Island over the next two years.

The project will help beef up cocoa production and take advantage of the export market, David said, noting that a global shortage of the commodity is predicted at 1 million metric tons (MT) by 2020.

“We are supporting the Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Cacao Project by addressing cacao shortage through training, consulting services, and provision of planting materials,” he said.

For the cacao program, the maximum subsidy for a farmer is P10,000 for materials and P4,000 for labor. The same support is allocated for coffee and abaca, said Bernardo Agaloos Jr., GIZ senior adviser.

“A ready market linking the farmers directly to CocoaPhil, Manila Cordage, and Nestle which would purchase all the produce that meet quantity and quality at equitable prices beyond the lifetime of the project would be the key factor for success,” said Agaloos.

Planting will be in Ibajay and Libacao in Aklan; Pandan, Sebaste, Laua-an, Bugasong, Valderrama, Patnongon, Sibalom, and San Remigio in Antique; Tapaz, Capiz; and, San Joaguin, Miag-ao, Tubungan, Janiuay, and Lambunao in Iloilo.

Cocoaphil will add value into the production processes by helping farmers turn the produce into chocolate and link cacao farmers to markets. It will purchase fermented or dried cacao beans.

The GIZ project will rehabilitate degraded forest lands through natural regeneration and upland farming technologies.

The German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety or BMUB which funds GIZ has supported forest conservation in the area as Panay is a habitat for certain endangered species. The endangered Dulungan hornbill and Rafflesia plants are found only in the island.

“Slash-and-burn practices, unregulated logging, and poaching pose a threat to the entire ecosystem,” according to GIZ.

Slash-and-burn farming has contributed to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

But FCPP I is estimated to have contributed to a decrease in GHG (particularly carbon dioxide or CO2) emissions totaling 16,800 MT per year by arresting deforestation. Reforestation activities are further reducing CO2 emissions at the rate of 11,650 MT per year.

The project will help enable the Department of Environment and Natural Resources meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic plan 2011-2020. The target involves avoiding extinctions of threatened species and protecting land and seas.

FCPP may enable Philippines to obtain grant funding similar to carbon credits like REDD or Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Deutsche Forstservice GmbH is involved in REDD functions.

The FCPP I was implemented from 2010 to 2014, completing 13 forest land use plans and employing forest guards, with more than 15,000 hectares designated as special habitat protection areas.

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