GEN. SANTOS CITY – As part of its efforts to uplift the lives of beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program of the government, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has conducted series of educational process to uplift the entrepreneurial skills of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).
Recently, the ARBs who are members of the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council & Farmers Association (BARCFA) in Glan, Sarangani province underwent a training to become certified cacao doctors and eventually run their own cacao agri-enterprises.
The cacao doctors training was spearheaded by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and implemented under the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP). The BARCFA was qualified for a 24.4 Million worth of loan under the APCP.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Felix Frias said the training aims to help ARBs to become entrepreneurs who specialize in growing high-quality cacao beans.
“There is a growing market for cacao locally and internationally. That’s why this training would greatly help our farmers in yielding large quantities of high-quality cacao beans at par with those produced by other countries,” said Frias.
Frias said nine ARBs completed the first module of Cacao Doctor’s Training held at Kennemer Cacao Center in Barangay Mankilam in Tagum City.
Provision of support programs and services to ARBs are among the priorities of the administration of President Duterte and of the DAR under the leadership of OIC Secretary Rosalina L. Bistoyong.
Cacao doctors are farmer entrepreneurs who, with intensive training from Kennemer, will become consolidators of beans under the center’s buying program, distributors of planting material and inputs and providers of pruning and rehabilitation support services.
Cacao doctors will each run their own for-profit agri-enterprises and provide ongoing coaching and support services to the farmers in their cluster as a business.
Kennemer Technical Services Manager Portia L. Sugsi said the training will equip the farmers with knowledge on pre-planting activities, common pests and diseases in young cacao plant, and learned good agricultural practices in cacao production.
“The six-day Cacao Doctor’s Training Module I for key members of BARCFA was an important milestone in becoming a certified Cacao Doctor,” said Sugsi.
Sugsi said the future cacao doctors will provide technical assistance to the members of BARCFA who availed the APCP loan to support their cacao production.
The ARBs will be undergoing five more modules scheduled in the coming months.
Farmer-participant and BARCFA president Romeo Ogong described the training as very substantial and empowering. He said it gave them with a clear understanding of what cacao industries are all about.
“Seeing the actual operation of the business and the hands-on experience in the cacao center made us feel responsible for providing technical knowledge and capacities to our fellow farmers,” Ogong added.
Kennemer Foods International, Inc. is an agribusiness company specializing in the growing, sourcing and trading of high-quality agricultural crops such as fermented cacao beans sourced from smallholder farmers. (Agnes R. Torino/DAR-Sarangani)
Photo 1: BARCFA future cacao doctors with provincial APCP point person Marte Pabalay (3rd standing from left) and Kennemer Specialist Lemuel Bernardo (6th standing from left). (Photo credit: Abdul Karim Odoya)
Photo 2: Learning growth conditions will provide insights to improve the quality of cacao plants.
Photo 3: Future cacao doctors learn basic pre-planting activities that will give favorable growth conditions for the young cacao plants. (Photo credit: Marte Pabalay)
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