Chinese group seeking 10,000 hectares for cacao

Business World | 4 October 2016

Chinese group seeking 10,000 hectares for cacao
by Maya M. Padillo

DAVAO CITY -- A group of Chinese investors has tapped the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI) to help obtain a 10,000-hectare (ha) area for development into a cacao plantation.
CIDAMI Executive Director Val D. Turtur said in an interview the investors are currently involved in processing and sourcing their cacao beans from South America and West Africa. 
“Maybe they are thinking, ‘why not in the Philippines which is so close to us?’” Mr. Turtur said.
The 10,000-ha farm, according to Mr. Turtur, could potentially produce 20,000 metric tons (MT) after four years if mono-cropping is adopted. He added that the Chinese investors have indicated that they need at least 10,000 MT a year.
“I’m still looking for land. I went to Agusan del Sur, I think there’s an area there between the boundary of Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte area because here in Davao we don’t have a lot that big anymore,” Mr. Turtur said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Turtur said he will still be talking to officials of the Davao City Investment Promotion Center and the City Agriculturist Office to verify an 8,000-ha area in the city’s Paquibato district that was previously identified as a potential site for agricultural development. 
“10,000 hectares in one area isn’t necessary, it could be 1,000 ha from another town and other plots elsewhere, but as much as possible it should be a contiguous area,” he explained.
“China as a market, they have lots of money, it can compete with our other buyers of cacao,” he said.
Mr. Turtur said the Philippine cacao industry has plenty of room to grow because demand is much bigger than supply. 
He said that in the recently-concluded Kakao Konek Conference 2016, numerous traders and importers expressed an intent to purchase. 
“There are from Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and China looking for cacao. I met investors from Shanghai the other night, but for now there’s not much supply for cacao, that is the problem,” he said. 
The country has been producing about 44,000 MT of cacao annually in the last two years, 90% of which comes from Mindanao. The government has set a target production of 100,000 MT by 2020. 
As such, Mr. Turtur said CIDAMI’s current main focus is encouraging the development of more cacao farms through links with investors.

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