LAMUT, Ifugao, July 14 (PIA) - - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the province continues to extend technology assistance in the farm methods to Ifugao farmers through experts from its Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE). This time its for the cacao industry in the province.
The first batch of CAPE beneficiaries was a mix of lowland Ifugao farmers with their seasonal crops of pepper, papaya, ginger, ampalaya, coconut, citrus, rambutan, lansones, mango and other varied fruit-bearing crops in their orchards in which under-developed farms were provided recommendations on the appropriate crops and trees to be planted that would profitably be integrated with their ruminants and livestock.
The next batch was the group of Arabica coffee growers of Julongan, Kiangan who are farming at a higher elevation which according to the CAPE consultants have the perfect parameters to produce several of the best Arabica coffee varieties and with their recommendation and DOST’s technology assistance brought up farm entrepreneurship spirit to a higher level in their coffee industry.
The present batch is composed of farmers who have lands in Lamut town who are interested in going into cacao farming. There are now 11 beneficiaries of the DOST-CAPE’s Program on Cacao in Ifugao and they are now cooperating with the DOST to help start and sustain the cacao industry in the province.
The cacao or popularly referred to as cocoa has promising demands in the local and international market that highlights the potential advantage of this industry in the Philippines but the production of this so-called “coffee of the gods” into commercial scale is yet to be realized.
CAPE made an assessment that many areas in Ifugao are within the required elevation in making the province a potential Cocoa producer. To help accelerate the development of the cacao industry in the province it conducted a Cacao Forum resulting to the organization of the Ifugao Cocoa Association who shall play a significant role in helping provide direction towards the cacao industry development.
The CAPE embarked into the cacao nursery development for free in which cacao seeds of two varieties from Davao were provided to individual nurseries of the CAPE beneficiaries. The nurseries are established near their houses to ensure that the recommended technologies on nursery management are strictly followed.
Soil sampling and analysis training were also conducted to make the farmers appreciate their farms’ potentials and to be aware of the areas that need to be improved.
The desire to develop the cacao industry is now becoming stronger in Ifugao with the help and guidance of DOST and CAPE. (JDP/DBC- PIA CAR, Ifugao)