DAVAO CITY — An investor from Bacolod City has struck a provisional agreement with an indigenous people’s (IP) group in Compostela Valley for the use of 50 hectares land to be planted to highly marketable cacao.
This was learned from an official of the Provincial Agriculturist Office who said the investor from Bacolod plans a 50-hectare cacao plantation in New Bataan.
According to Minda Agarano, Compostela Valley provincial agriculturist, the proposed site has been previously abandoned for being “less productive” and should not require the cutting of trees.
Agarano withdrew other details to the proposal but claimed the investor is scheduled to sign the Free Prior Informed consent with the IP in the area. Soon after, the IP and investor will sign a memorandum of agreement where guidelines and the responsibilities of the partners are made clear.
Another investor, Walter Brown which also owns Apex Mining, will also set up a chocolate processing plant in Compostela Valley.
Prior to typhoon “Pablo” in 2012, cacao production was robust in the area. Since then, yield of some 500 kilograms per tree per year has been pared down to only one kilogram per tree per year.
“In low-lying areas in the province are grown the best fermented cacao beans while in the elevated areas are the marketable beans. We have the quality when it comes to cacao bean production,” Agarano said.
Provincial authorities in Compostela Valley have encouraged farmers to engage in cacao production because demand is steadily rising. Also, the big chocolate producers who visited found the land has the potential of growing quality cacao at very competitive prices in the market.
During the Kakao Konek event in October in Davao City last year, Compostela Valley submitted entries for best cacao beans and that cacao beans from Monkayo and Nabunturan emerged as the best cacao beans in the Philippines.