The province of Iloilo will soon join the coffee and cacao industry. The massive planting is expected to commence in May of this year.
Delivery of materials sourced from Batangas amounting to PHP10 million will soon be completed, according to provincial agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo. The delivery of the "ready-to-plant" materials--composed of over 9,000 grafted seedlings of cacao, and over 8,000 grafted seedlings of coffee--started in late 2017, and are now available at the nursery in La Granja in La Paz District and Agri-Aqua Research and Technology (ART) Center at Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo. Each cacao seedling costs PHP50, while coffee costs PHP45 per seedling.
Twenty-two towns, mostly in the third district, with a total of 1,300 hectares have been identified as highly suitable for cacao and coffee. Toledo mentioned that they intend to distribute the materials to these towns this month.
However, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. requested that the distribution be delayed, to let the summer season pass. According to the governor, this is to ensure that the plants' survival rate be relatively higher, and is requesting that Toledo check with PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) on the expected duration of the summer season.
Noting high demand of coffee and cacao, the Iloilo government allocated the PHP10 million budget for planting materials last year.