DAVAO CITY—Cacao farmers in Davao Oriental are primed for a wider production engagement with the multi-awarded chocolate maker here with fresh financial aid from the World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
The project, dubbed “Fermented Cacao Beans Marketing Enterprise Sub-project” seeks to involve farmers’ cooperatives in seven municipalities to produce quality beans for the products of Malagos Chocolates owned by the Puentespina family of Davao City.
The PRDP-funded project would be centralized under the lead proponent group, Nagmasid Agrarian Reform Cooperative of San Isidro municipality, to establish post-harvest and marketing facilities in the seven municipalities of Davao Oriental.
The six other groups are the Panikian Cacao Small Farmers Association in Banaybanay, Nagkahiusang Kristohanong Mag-uuma sa Cocornon Cooperatives in Lupon, Governor Generoso Cacao Growers Association in Governor Generoso, Limot Mandaya Tribal Multi-purpose Cooperative in Tarragona, Yagakauyon na Kooperatiba sa San Ignacio in Manay, and the Davao Oriental Coconut Industry Development Coalition in the city of Mati.
The PRDP approved the funding requirement of P14 million for the project under its Investment for Rural Enterprise for Agricultural Productivity (I-REAP) component. The check was handed over to Nagmasid cooperative on July 1.
Witnesses to the turnover were Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, San Isidro Municipal Mayor Justina Yu, Regional Director for Region 11 and PRDP Mindanao Project Director Ricardo Oñate, PSO Mindanao I-REAP head Ronnie Yulo, municipal local government officials, as well as cooperative managers and members of the project’s recipient proponent groups.
“Our support will not just end after the distribution of seedlings but will continue with provisions for processing and marketing, with assistance on where to sell your products to maximize your income,” Dayanghirang said.
“We produce high-quality cacao beans here in Davao Oriental so our dream should be to come up with a finished product—if possible, chocolates that we can sell to other countries,” he added.
“By our continued support we would in effect be hitting not just two but three birds, namely, food security, livelihood for farmer and fisherfolk, and livelihood for former insurgents,” Oñate said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
In total, PRDP turned over 14 solar tunnel dryers, seven fermentation facilities, one warehouse, one cargo truck, seven weighing scales, and three motorcycles that would be distributed to the seven cooperatives in the seven recipient municipalities.
In addition, a check for P1 million was also given as a counterpart loan care of the Provincial Cooperative Office. Aside from these, the proponent groups would wait for the arrival of eight units of moisture meters to complete the list of facilities and equipment for turnover to the sub-project.
All in all the total cost of the sub-project is P14,524,197 and would benefit 924 households in the seven sub-project sites in Davao Oriental, the PRDP said.