A RECENTLY conducted study on cacao farming in the Cordillera Administrative Region has found that many areas in Ifugao are within the required elevation for the production of cocoa.
To help accelerate the development of the cacao industry in the province, the Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently conducted a cacao forum resulting in the organization of the Ifugao Cocoa Association (ICA).
According to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Ifugao, ICA has played a significant role in helping provide direction toward the development of the cacao industry in the province.
Since then, the DOST has continued to extend technology assistance to Ifugao farmers through experts from CAPE.
Daniel Codamon of PIA-Ifugao, said DOST-CAPE also embarked into cacao nursery development in which cacao seeds of two varieties from Davao were provided to individual nurseries of the program beneficiaries.
Nurseries were also established near farmers’ dwellings to ensure CAPE’s recommended technologies on nursery management are strictly followed.
Codamon said soil sampling and analysis training were also conducted to make the farmers appreciate their land’s potential and be aware of the areas that need to be improved.
The first batch of CAPE beneficiaries included lowland Ifugao farmers engaged in seasonal crops like pepper, papaya, ginger, ampalaya, coconut, citrus, rambutan, lansones, mango and other fruit-bearing crops.
“Their underdeveloped farms were provided recommendations on the appropriate crops and trees to be planted that would profitably be integrated with their ruminants and livestock,” Codamon said.
Ifugao’s Arabica coffee growers of Julongan, Kiangan were the second batch of CAPE beneficiaries who were farming at a higher elevation.
According to CAPE consultants, these farmers have access to parameters to produce several of the best Arabica coffee varieties. Codamon said CAPE’s recommendation and DOST’s technology assistance brought up the level of farm entrepreneurship in the province’s coffee industry.
The present batch of CAPE beneficiaries is composed of farmers who have lands in Lamut town in Ifugao who are interested in cacao cultivation.
Codamon said there are 11 beneficiaries of DOST-CAPE’s program on cacao farming in Ifugao who are cooperating with the agency to help start and sustain the cacao industry in the province.
“Through the guidance and help of the DOST and CAPE, the desire to develop the cacao industry is now becoming stronger in Ifugao,” Codamon said.