SURIGAO DEL NORTE, August 10, 2023 – Boosting local cacao production to serve as an additional livelihood source, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program Phase 2 in Caraga funded a Cacao Production Project to 25 farmers in Alegria, Surigao del Norte.
Under SAAD Phase 2 implementation, the project awarded to the United Farmers Association of Camp Edward (UFACE) included 6,250 pcs of cacao planting materials for a 10-hectare plantation (250 seedlings per member good for 0.4 hectares), complete fertilizer, pesticides, farm tools, and training related to establishing a cacao production. The said inputs were allocated Php 797,425 in FY 2023 (Table 1).
Table 1. SAAD inputs received by UFACE members
|Unit of measure||Quantity||
|Cacao Planting Materials||pcs||6,250||281,250.00|
|Sharp bolo with sheath||pcs||25||16,250.00|
Cacao production at Brgy. Camp Edward, Alegria, is estimated at less than a hectare. During the Beneficiary Needs Assessment conducted by the Program in May, cacao emerged among the top crops preferred by the FA that is suitable in their area, along with banana and root crops.
The majority of members have limited experience in cacao production while some have a few trees planted in their backyards. To improve knowledge on cacao cultivation, from June 21 to 22, 2023, the Program conducted a Cacao Production Training covering topics in establishing a cacao plantation from situational analysis (land and climate), farm lay-outing, the establishment of shade trees, planting, and farm maintenance (weeding, pruning, and fertilization).
With the plan to start planting by the end of July, on July 18, the Program also distributed the project inputs to UFACE in a turnover ceremony in coordination with the Local Government Unit of Alegria and the Municipal Agriculture Office.
The said project is among the long-term livelihood support of the Program to the group for FY 2023 alone. Since cacao generally takes two years to mature and bear fruits, UFACE members expect their first harvest by 2025. This year, the group received vegetable seeds to serve as an additional immediate food source.
Writer: Mark Angelo Pineda, Information Officer, DA-SAAD Caraga