DA-WV, DTI spearhead training to boost cacao industry in Iloilo Province

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: June 6, 2024

To strengthen the cacao industry and advance agricultural practices in the region, the Department of Agriculture Western Visayas (DA-WV) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conducted a two-day training on cacao production attended by cacao growers and processors in Iloilo province.  This collaborative effort aimed to empower local cacao farmers with the latest knowledge in good agricultural practices, integrated pest management, and nutrient management.

The training kicked off with Ms. Daryl Mae Jacar, the Trade Industry Training Specialist of DTI, providing a comprehensive situationer of the cacao industry in Iloilo Province. Participants were given an in-depth understanding of the current market trends, challenges, and opportunities within the local cacao sector. This session also dealt on the importance of strategic development in boosting the region’s cacao production.

Meanwhile, Agriculturist I, Christian Dela Torre of the CFIDP and Iloilo Provincial Cacao Coordinator Niko Mambusada led the subsequent training sessions. They focused on integrated pest management, offering farmers practical techniques to manage pests effectively while minimizing environmental impact. They likewise covered post-harvest handling and processing, essential for maintaining the quality of cacao beans, and cacao production technology, which included innovative methods to increase yield and improve the quality of the produce.

On the second day of the training, DA Soils Laboratory Agriculturist I, Rhyll Balinas tackled on soil health which is a vital factor for successful cacao cultivation. She discussed the importance of understanding soil composition and the right fertilization techniques to enhance cacao growth and productivity.

Following this, DA-WV Cacao and CFIDP Focal Person Relvin Paragua demonstrated the proper preparation of cacao seedlings and scions, grafting techniques, and post-harvest methods during the hands-on sessions. This practical approach allowed farmers to gain firsthand experience, ensuring they could implement these techniques effectively on their farms.

This collaborative training initiative reflects the commitment of both DA and DTI to support and empower local farmers. By providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge, the agencies aim to elevate the cacao industry in Western Visayas, making it more competitive and sustainable. As the demand for cacao continues to grow globally, such initiatives are vital for positioning Iloilo Province as a key player in the industry. # (Texts & Photos : JVDeGuzman/DA-RAFIS 6)