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PIA Press Release

San Isidro gets P950T for cacao industry

By Erwin Fernandez

SAN ISIDRO, Davao del Norte (20 June) -- Mayor Tomas Abelita of San Isidro town, received last Monday (June18) P950,000 worth of technical and financial assistance for the development of a home-grown chocolate industry.

In the ceremonial turn-over, officials from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) XI and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI handed over the assistance, of which P800, 000 came from the Japanese grant Kennedy Round 2 (KR2) under NEDAís Productivity Enhancement Program.

DTI also chipped in a counterpart fund of P150,000 through its One-Town One-Product (OTOP) program which cacao/cocoa processing had been identified as the priority project of San Isidro.

The cacao/cocoa processing is collaborative effort among NEDA, DTI and the local government unit of San Isidro aimed to further boost the cacao industry of the municipality.

It is expected to benefit 110 small cacao farmers whose income would somehow increase as the industry flourishes.

It is also seen to generate local job opportunities while encouraging entrepreneurship which is in line with the Presidentís 8 by 08 priority programs.

The project has 7 to 12 months duration which incorporates components such as institutional development, productivity enhancement, facilitation of technology and product development and investment facilitation and market promotion.

Even before the NEDA assistance came the DTI and the municipal government of San Isidro had already taken initial steps to jumpstart the cacao/cocoa processing venture.

They had organized a unified marketing scheme named the Chocolateí de San Isidro (CSI) composed mainly of the key players of the industry such as cacao farmersí cooperative, cacao traders, tableya makers, local entrepreneurs/investors.

CSI went into a modest tableya processing business right at the municipality that had somehow shored up the local buying price of cacao seeds as it offered much stable and competitive prices even during lean seasons.

CSI linked with CSI Trade Venture Inc. to directly promote and sell its tableya.

With CSI Ventureís promotion effort in coordination with DTI, CSI had received volumes of orders from food and beverage establishment in the country.

With the financial assistance from NEDA, CSIís potential in cacao/cocoa industry is expected to be strengthened.

Present during the ceremonial hand-over of the financial assistance were Nicasio Angelo Agustin, Regional Director of NEDA XI and Merly Cruz Assistant Secretary and Regional Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI.

Together with Mayor Abelita, officials of the four cacao farmerís cooperative for the Chocolate de San Isidro Inc., the beneficiaries of the financial assistance, were also present during the ceremony.

More than 3,000 hectares of land in San Isidro that has been planted with cacao trees and have been in this industry for over 2 and half years now. (PIA 11/ETF) [top]

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