AID FOR TABLEA PRODUCTION. Officials of the Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP), Maragusan Multipurpose Cooperative (MAMPCO), and the Davao de Oro provincial government attend the blessing of the air-conditioned delivery van donated to the MAMPCO on Wednesday (May 17, 2023). The van is part of the PHP7.5 million aid of DA-PRDP to the cooperative to improve their “tablea” production and earn more income. (Photo courtesy of DA-PRDP)

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) has poured in PHP7.5 million worth of interventions to a farmers’ group in Davao de Oro province to increase their cacao production, an official said Wednesday.

In a statement, Marila Corpuz, PRDP regional project coordination office deputy project director, said the assistance was received by the Maragusan Multipurpose Cooperative (MAMPCO) in Maragusan town on Wednesday, to enhance their “tablea” processing and marketing enterprise project.

The “tablea,” which means “tablets” in Spanish, is made from dried local cocoa beans that are roasted before being ground to a rich, chocolate paste.

Sugar is then added to the “tablea” paste and cooperative members shape them into tablet form.

Corpuz said the PHP7.5 million aid consisted of an air-conditioned delivery van and other cacao processing equipment and facilities.

“To complete the PRDP investment package to MAMPCO, they will be enhancing their tablea production machinery and facilities, including the provision of additional tablea processing equipment,” she said.

Corpuz emphasized the advantage of value-adding to increase the income of the coop, especially with improved product packaging and labeling.

MAMPCO earlier received aid from PRDP worth PHP2.5 million for their tablea processing and marketing enterprise subproject.

“MAMPCO commits to use the facility and equipment efficiently, to sustain the operation of the tablea processing, to develop further the cacao industry, and to increase the income of the cacao farmers,” said coop manager, Armando Escuadro.

Jaime Anter, the provincial agriculturist, urged the members of the cooperative to focus on “quality” so they could demand a good price. (PNA)