In a brief but engaging dialogue with Delos Reyes, the officers of three agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) of Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur province, asked the Secretary to help the farmers achieve higher production in coconut and cacao crops being the main produce of the ARBs.
Only forty percent (40%) of the total coconut area are planted to cacao as undercrop, bared the officers of the United CARP Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Coop (UNICARB MPC), Southern Davao Multi-Purpose Coop (SDMC) and the PCEC-Kumassie Employees-ARB Multi-Purpose Coop (PMPC).
The farmer-leaders conveyed to Delos Reyes during the meeting on October 17, the need to increase cacao production as its demand increases.
They said rehabilitation of the aging cacao trees as well as replanting of additional hills are recommended, but this requires a capital outlay of P56,000.00 per hectare.
They also cited low production, inadequate post-harvest facility and additional farm-to-market roads as among the factors that needed attention.
In response, the DAR Secretary urged the farmers to make use of DAR’s program such as the Agricultural Production Credit Program (APCP), Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Enterprise Support Service (ARCCESS) and the Philippine Crop Insurance program as windows to address the enumerated needs.
Delos Reyes also recommended for the strengthening of the DAR-KENNEMER partnership as its existing trading and technology provider in cacao production.
He instructed the officials and staff from the Program Beneficiaries Division (PBD) of DAR Provincial Office in Davao del Sur to further develop agri-business ventures agreement for cacao.
Prior to Sta. Maria, the Secretary also visited BREAD Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the municipality of Sta.Cruz, also in Davao del Sur, where he encouraged the beneficiaries to engage undercropping of banana to their coconut area.
He further urged the farmers to boost up the cooperative’s value-adding venture on rice wine or production.
Delos Reyes has been making rounds of field visits in ARBOs nationwide to know first-hand the needed agricultural production requirement and how to address gaps between the awarded lands and agri-productivity and between agri-productivity and sustainability. (PIO-DAR Davao del Sur/Yadz Geyrozaga)