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Participants and resource persons for the 5th training-workshop on “Strengthening Sustainable Cacao Farming System in the Philippines in Response to Climate Change and in the Midst of Pandemic” (Image Credit: FERD, DOST-PCAARRD)

28 stakeholders from Western Visayas gather for year 5 of cacao training

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) organized the fifth training-workshop on sustainable cacao farming for stakeholders in Western Visayas.  

The activities included: hands-on pest collection, pest identification, soil testing, and introduction to latest technologies on insect pests (mirid bug and pod borer) and disease (black pod rot and vascular streak) prevention and control.

The training-workshop included hands-on insect collection and identification, disease identification, and farm planning. (Image Credit: FERD, DOST-PCAARRD)

Facilitated by Dr. Divina M. Amalin, a cacao pest expert from De La Salle University (DLSU), the training-workshop, “Strengthening Sustainable Cacao Farming System in the Philippines in Response to Climate Change and in the Midst of Pandemic,” was attended by 28 participants from Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, and Aklan. The batch included farmers, farm technicians, government agency officials, researchers from state universities and colleges, industry players, and agriculturists from the private sector.

The training was conducted from December 4 to December 8, 2023 at Goldberry Hotel Lite in Iloilo City. The training program included lectures on climate change’s effect on cacao production, postharvest and processing, farmer’s testimonials, field visits, and hands-on experience on soil testing, insect pest  and disease identification in Damires Hills Farm in  Janiuay, Iloilo.

Leading experts on cacao pests, diseases, and farming strategies (L) Dr. Divina M. Amalin, (top right) Dr. Romulo L. Cena, and (bottom right) Dr. Alberto T. Barrion sharing their mastery with participants from Western Visayas. (Image Credit: FERD, DOST-PCAARRD)

Dr. Amalin, also a professor from DLSU, shared the output of their completed and ongoing research on cacao biological pest management.  Actual demonstrations of developed technologies for cacao disease detection and cacao insect pest monitoring and surveillance supplemented her lecture discussion.

Dr. Romulo L. Cena, Professor Emeritus from the University of Southern Mindanao (USM)  lectured on the effects of climate change. He also shared his experience in cacao integrated farming system with farmers in Mindanao.

Dr. Alberto T. Barrion, Scientist in Residence at DLSU and one of the country’s leading insect and spider taxonomists, imparted his mastery on pest identification and guided everyone in identifying insect pests and beneficials. He encouraged the participants to consider pesticides only as a last resort to promote natural farming ecosystem leading to reduced chemical emissions, and importantly economic considerations.

The training-workshop was organized by DOST-PCAARRD’s Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD) and Institution Development Division (IDD), in partnership with DLSU, West Visayas State University (WVSU), and the Western Visayas Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVAARRDEC).