NegOcc to scale up cacao prod’n

The Visayan Daily Star
BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Negros Occidental is hoping to expand the production of premium cacao in the province*

Negros Occidental plans to scale up its production of criollo, a rare and expensive variety of cacao, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said yesterday.

This is because the province is targeting to produce a chocolate that is truly Negrense, Masculino said.

He said criollo, a premium type of cacao, originated from Mexico, and was brought to the country during the Spanish period. The cacao thrived in the province, while only a few are left in Mexico.

Moreover, he said a group of cacao growers, who managed a 50-hectare cacao plantation in Talisay City, recently met with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson for a possible partnership with the provincial government to increase its production.

“The governor is interested. He will also help with the diversification program of the province,” Masculino said, adding that cacao will be intercropped with banana so farmers will have an additional source of income.

He said the provincial government can provide funding for cacao-banana intercropping since cacao needs shade to grow. “The funding will focus on procurement of planting materials because we already have the technology,” he said.

He also lauded the private sector for taking initiatives and diversifying its commodities.

“We hope that this partnership with the local cacao growers will also increase the volume of production of criollo, that has white beans,” he said.

Right now, the province has about 1,000 hectares in cacao plantation, he said, as it is not as popular as coffee.*

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