DOST unlocked a treat of its Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE) Program to two cacao farms in Siquijor in 2021. The previous years were an introduction of said consultancy on mango farms which yielded positive impact on mango growers’ harvest as well as on the establishment of a steady market of mangoes in the province.
Christopher L. Fadriga was commissioned then by DOST as an expert to undertake productivity studies on said cacao farms, namely Espina Cacao Farm in Sabang, Larena, and Panganoron Cacao Farm in Upper Tigbawan, Lazi.
After a series of technical assessment, the two farms have been undergoing remedial measures. In the context of Espina Cacao Farm, the owner has started to provide a favorable environment to cacao seedlings by planting Madre de Cacao to create a casting of partial shade and to serve as windbreaker. It deems also to improve the fertility of the soil and its leaves can be processed into insecticides. Some recommendation constitutes periodic application of both chemical and organic fertilizer and ring weeding.
For Panganoron Cacao Farm, the owner has begun to mitigate the presence of fungus that causes pod rot by applying a method of preventive spraying of CARTAP. Ring weeding has been done, too, and a cacao heirloom nursery for criollo mother plants has been established.
Engr. Mario E. de la Peńa said: “It is just a matter of time that the success mango growers have experienced in Siquijor because of DOST’s CAPE program will also be the same as with our cacao growers. With the infusion of technical advisory from Mr. Fadriga, there is no reason why a sustainable farming and production of cacao in the province would not be achieved.”
DOST would not stop intervening. This year 2022, a prospect of three additional cacao farms is in place for consultancy. With DOST, cacao has a bright future along the path of agricultural productivity. (by: Jose Aldous Rubi Arbon II)