TABLEA PROCESSING. The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) turns over a cacao solar dryer to San Isidro Cacao Producers Cooperative (SICAPCO) in San Isidro, Davao Oriental, on June 17, 2022. The aid is part of the PHP9 million worth of support for the group's “Enhancement of Table Processing and Marketing Enterprise” subproject. (Photo from DA-PRDP)

DAVAO CITY – A farmers’ group in San Isidro, Davao Oriental is now capable of producing more quality cacao tablea after receiving PHP9 million assistance from the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).

In a statement Wednesday, DA-PRDP said the San Isidro Cacao Producers Cooperative (SICAPCO) received financial support on June 17 for  its “Enhancement of Tablea Processing and Marketing Enterprise” subproject.

The enterprise package includes the construction of a cacao solar dryer, and a processing building with storage and vehicle shed.

Also, the 141-strong cooperative received a utility van, a motorcycle, and other processing materials and machinery.

This has enabled SICAPCO to start processing a large volume of cacao beans into tablea as the subproject addressed the coop’s lack of machinery, equipment, and processing facilities, DA-PRDP said.

“Thank you so much for helping our cooperative. It will greatly help every one of us,”  SICAPCO manager Victorano Orot Sr. said.

Orot said the group started its cacao journey earlier after receiving cacao seedlings from the province.

Dr. Eric Dagmang, the provincial veterinarian head and concurrent local PRDP focal person, said plans are underway to register the SICAPCO tablea with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) so they can bring their product to bigger markets.

“We will register to DFA the cacao tablea of SICAPCO since our building is already standardized based on the DFA qualification. Without accreditation, we can’t go to a bigger market, so we will register it,” he said. (PNA)