The agricultural sector of the Philippines comprises 30% of the workforce and about 12 million people. Challenges from resource depletion, social exclusion and lack of access to technology among others, continue to affect the worsening agro-economic trend in the country. Given this, the national roadmap for the cocoa sector has been set to increase production tenfold, providing sustainable incomes for as many as 130,000 Filipino farmers.
Capacitating Cacao Farmers in Mindanao is a project under the DeveloPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with DEG and Yara Fertilizers Philippines Inc. It is implemented to address cacao farmers’ limited capacity to meet industry demand due to low productivity. This is mainly due to the shortage of viable planting materials and the farmers’ lack of knowledge on crop nutrition, good agricultural practices (GAPs) and post-harvest handling.
The project also aims to increase the efficiency of farmers in cacao production through Yara’s crop nutrition solutions and effective crop handling. Twenty-five local farmers will be trained to become cacao specialists, who will, in turn, provide crop nutrition training to 50 cacao farmers. In addition, model farms will be established and post-harvest processing facilities will be set up in partnership with selected rural-based cooperatives in the area. Through these strategies, the yield of farmers is expected to increase by at least 25 percent and the selling price of the processed beans to increase by at least 10 percent. Eventually, the project will contribute to the country’s achievement of its national target, which is to produce 100,000 MT of dried fermented beans by 2022.