QARES ensures market-ready cacao products

The inception meeting held on 3 August 2023 underscored the strategies that DA-CALABARZON- Quezon Agricultural Research and Experiment Station (QARES) will implement towards transforming cacao processing into a competitive agribusiness venture.  

The project specifically intends to (1) conduct market assessment to guarantee the competitiveness of the products; (2) standardize the processing methods and quality of the Cacao Farmers Association of Nagcarlan (CFAN) tablea to ensure that all the products derived are of high quality standard; (3) capacitate CFAN members with technical and entrepreneurial skill.

“This initiative will transform the association from a start-up to a successful agribusiness enterprise.  This will provide members with a steady source of income from the production and sales of these products,” said Dr. Dennis Bihis, Senior Science Research Specialist of DA-CALABARZON-QARES and project leader.

On the increasing cacao production due to expansion of areas planted to the crop, implementers also noted that CFAN members alone have a total of 56.09 hectares planted with 26,761 cacao trees. These produce approximately 1,585.10 kg of wet beans annually, which is more than enough to support their processing requirement of 1,032 kg.

With this, Bihis added that, “[T]he community will also benefit directly or indirectly through production of raw materials or through adoption of cacao processing technologies, thereby, strengthening the cacao industry in the CALABARZON region.” 

Aside from these, the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research funded project seeks to capacitate CFAN members on values formation and community organizing, overview on good manufacturing practices and hazard analysis and critical control points, business management, financial literacy, and bookkeeping.

To ensure that these products are competitive in the market, a market assessment will also be conducted in which the result will be an input in the standardization and refinement of products. 

The inception meeting was held in the presence of project partner-beneficiaries and key stakeholders, where the implementers presented the objectives, activities and/or strategies, and timelines, as agreed in the project document, together with the approved workplan and budget, to ensure a smooth implementation of the project. (### Maria Elena M. Garces)