The Eastern Samar Cacao Industry Development Council (ESCIDC), led by chairperson Claro Ramiro Garado, in partnership with several agencies and organizations, convened the Regional Cacao Industry Council in a Provincial Cacao Forum. Held in Borongan city last September 21 and 22, the forum was in partnership with People In Need, Helvetas, Swiss Solidarity, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar.
The forum aimed to provide an avenue to learn from the different experiences of one another, as well as to promote the industry within the region. About 150 farmers, government agency representatives, educators, local government units, and members of the business sector were in attendance.
The event discussed the different challenges of the cacao industry within the province, exchanging valuable lesson on growing cacao and its sustainability. Clarifications and plans on enhancing the existing support mechanism for the cacao industry development were also talked about. The said support mechanism is in place to enable key stakeholders to access information and opportunities to further develop locally-initiated cacao industry efforts.
At the moment, the province of Eastern Samar is on the wait-and-see attitude when it comes to cacao. Most of them know cacao only as something their grandmothers would gather beans from and make chocolate with. Unlike other agricultural products like coconut, cacao has not yet proven itself to be something families and households could live off from. In the province, coconut production has been a tried and tested choice, and many families have progressed and earned from.
In as much as they are waiting for its potential, the farmers also need a slight push to learn the fundamentals of growing and producing cacao. Acting Governor Marcelo Ferdinand Picardal committed about P5 million to inspire cacao farmers into taking the cacao industry seriously.
Source: Philippine Information Agency