Despite the extended dry season that had hit Palawan during the last two years, the province’s emergent cacao industry is making positive headway, according to the provincial government.
Myrna Lacanilao, Program Manager of the Provincial Livelihood Program Management Unit, told Palawan News that as of 2017, some 1,500 hectares have been planted already with cacao in the towns of Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Sofronio Espaῇola, Rizal, Quezon, Aborlan, and Narra.
She added that today’s current production is picking up as farmers have already planted 447,660 cacaos in their respective farmlands.
“Maganda naman ang production ng cacao ngayon. Huwag lang dumating ang dry spell kasi ‘yun talaga napakahirap,” she said.
Lacanilao said that in 2015, some 1,000 hectares of cacao plantations were put up in the towns of Bataraza and Rizal, benefiting some 1,000 families.
She added however that the drought season or El Niño recorded in the past years had caused high mortality on the seedlings they distributed to farmers.
Records obtained by Palawan News showed that in the last two years, 51% of mortality of cacao trees were recorded in the towns of Rizal including Ransang, Candawaga, Panalingaan, and Culasian. Also affected were the towns of Bataraza including Culandanum, Malihud, Tarusana, and Igang-igang.
“Ang problema ang ganda sana biglang nag-dry spell, di ba nag El Niño, super hirap ‘yun ang pinakaproblema ‘pag dating dito sa cacao,” she said.
She said the provincial government is promoting cacao farming exclusively in Southern Palawan because of its suitable soil quality.
She explained that while farmers pay the cost of the planting, they make profit from a 70 percent share on the proceeds of their harvest.
“Paunti- unti ‘yung gagawin nilang pagbabayad. Every ani nila, 30 percent ng kanilang harvest ay ibabayad nila at ang 70 percent dito ay mapupunta sa kanila. Hanggang matapos nila na mabayaran ito,” she said.