Neda, DTI help boost San Isidros cacao industry

Jul. 10, 2007

DAVAO CITY — SEEING the potential of the cacao industry of San Isidro, Davao del Norte, the regional offices of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently awarded the municipality an assistance of P950,000 .

San Isidro, a municipality located around 100 meters away from Davao City, has been tagged as the Chocolate Hub of the Davao Region.

Tablea, the local name of cocoa tablets, is the identified One Town One Product (OTOP) commodity of the area.

Of the P950,000 assistance, P800, 000 came from the Japanese grant Kennedy Round 2 (KR2) under NEDA 11s Productivity Enhancement Program. While the P150,000 was the counterpart fund of DTI 11.

San Isidro Mayor Tomas Abelita urged his constituents to support the project in order to further develop the home-grown industry while giving sustainable income to the 110 cacao farmers who are expected from the implementation of the project.

Gihatag ni kanato aron padakuon, aron makatabang pud sa atong pamilya (This is given to us. Lets nurture it. This will help our families), he said.

The project implementation is composed of institutional development, productivity enhancement, facilitation of technology and product development, investment facilitation, and market promotion.

Before NEDA 11 extended its help, the DTI 11 and municipal government of San Isidro have already taken initial steps to jumpstart the cacao/cocoa processing venture.

They organized the Chocolate de San Isidro (CSI) Incorporated which consists of key industry players such as cacao farmers cooperative, cacao traders, tablea makers, and local entrepreneurs/investors.

In marketing the produce, CSI Trade Ventures, Inc. is the one looking for buyers and institutional markets of the product, which is now carrying the brand name Sikwate, the native name of the chocolate beverage.

With CSI Ventures promotion efforts, in coordination with DTI, CSI has constantly received volumes of orders from a number of food and beverage establishments in the country.

Trade Assistant Secretary Merly M. Cruz said the project is the result of the convergence of different stakeholders.

Lets value cooperativism for us to improve our cacao industry and at the same time, for us to help more members of the Chocolate de San Isidro, Inc. Lets help each other to sustain and expand this sector, Cruz told the beneficiaries during the turn-over ceremony.

Meanwhile, NEDA 11 Regional Director Nicasio Angelo Agustin said the steadfast support of the local government of San Isidro and the beneficiaries of the project is essential for the development of Chocolate de San Isidro to keep going.

In behalf of all the beneficiaries, Bernardino Yatig, chair of the Mabuhay MultiPurpose Cooperative, expressed heartfelt gratitude to NEDA 11 and DTI 11.

Daghan kaayong salamat! Kaning inyong gihatag nga kantidad makatabang pag-ayo sa amoa labin na rong ting-ulan kay parte sa kwarta amo mang ipalit og mechanical dryer (Thank you very much! The amount you gave will help us a lot especially during the rainy season since part of it will be used to purchase a mechanical dryer), he said.

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