The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has extended technical assistance to cacao producers in Camiguin in a move to improve their productivity and help them sustain a steady income.
DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the agency’s science and technology (S&T) aid has been extended to Mahinog Cacao Producers Group (MCPG) in Mahinog, Camiguin.
“The MCPG is composed of 25 farmers, majority of whom are senior citizens. It established the J and R Tablea Products, producing cacao beans and tablea as a source of living for its farmer-members,” he said in a report.
He said in March this year, the DOST Region X provided assistance worth P479,570 to the MCPG for the procurement of an industrial multipurpose cacao cracker/dehuller winnower and a cacao colloid mill. The aid was made possible through the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
“This is the second time that DOST-10 has assisted MCPG,” he said.
He recalled that in 2010, the DOST Region X through the Community Empowerment through S&T (CEST) Program extended P479,570 worth of aid to MCPG for the acquisition of cacao roaster, grinder, winnower, stainless tables, and utensils.
“In two years’ time, the Association mechanized their processes and achieved marked improvements in product quality and achieved higher productivity. The demand for their products also increased, necessitating the levelling up of their operations,” de la Peña said.
He cited that the S&T interventions provided to the MCPG helped the 25 farmer-members to have a stable income despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“As the demand for their products increase, they are able to generate employment opportunities not only to their workers but also to those who are selling their products,” de la Peña said.