Davao cacao farmers get ‘chocolate bonus’

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Philippine cacao (Mel Santos photo)

DAVAO CITY — A food manufacturing firm is offering “chocolate bonus” to Davao cacao farmers starting this month as its way of giving back to their clients.

Guadalupe Ocial, Kennemer Foods International (KFI) area manager for South Mindanao, said the company would plow back to the farmers the amount of P4 for every kilo sold to the traders. The traders will get a P2 share per kilo delivered to them.

Ocial said this is the company’s way of giving back to their clients and that the company’s international buyers also want the farmers to share the benefit of what they earned.

Ocial quoted KFI chief executive officer Simon Bakker, who said: “We want the farmers to get the right price.”

Ocial said pass-on price to traders are regulated. For instance, if the buying price is at P34 per kilo for wet beans, the traders’ price to the farmers must be at P32 and they cannot go beyond the ceiling price.

She added that international buyers want farmers, as main producers, would benefit from the profit of the industry and not only the consolidators like Kennemer and their respective companies and traders. Without the farmers, Ocial said there are no grinding companies and chocolate makers.

“They want to take good care of the farmers by also sharing the profit as a way of encouraging them to produce more quality beans,” she said.

She said her company would release the chocolate bonus starting this month.

“We require the traders to submit the list of farmers where they sourced out the beans,” she added.

“This will be in a payroll form where the farmers acknowledge receipt (of) the corresponding bonuses and said payroll will be submitted back to us,” she added.

Kennemer Foods International, Inc. is a Philippine agribusiness company specializing in the growing, sourcing and trading of high-quality agricultural crops such as fermented cacao beans sourced from smallholder farmers.

Ocial said Kennemer was established in 2010 with its buying and post-harvest center in Talandang, Tugbok, Davao City.

“We buy beans both from the farmers and through the traders where we process the seeds,” she said.

Ocial, who manages the Kennemer area in Calinan, said among their clients are Puratos, Mars, and Olam International where they process the beans based on the protocol requirements of these international buyers.

The fermented beans are brought to their clients’ processing areas either in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is during the holiday season when the bulk of Kennemer’s delivery happens.

Ocial said the peak season of cacao production or harvesting time falls on the second and fourth quarters.

She said there is a big requirement for cacao beans here as many of the grinding companies are starting to locate in Asia. Malaysia, for example, is sourcing their raw materials from the Philippines. This is the reason Kennemer is expanding with the acquisition of the 42 solar dryers to increase the volume of their production.

Kennemer is also actively planting trees and setting up cacao centers throughout Mindanao.

Ocial believes that cacao production will thrive and the level of growth will continue to increase especially among small cacao farmers.

The company also engages in contract growing where it encourages farmers to form a 25-member cluster. The farmers will undergo free training.

Through its sister company Agronomika, Ocial said, Kennemer also extended financing to the small cacao farmers with a 7-year term loan plus two years grace period for a P120,000 loan per hectare.

It is a supervised loan used to fund farm inputs and other materials that are needed in cacao growing. p: wjg

1 COMMENT

  1. I am interested to know more on cacao planting. I started to plant cacao trees late of 2014 or early 2015 with 500 trees. Now i am researching on how to grow and take care of them, what fertilizers to give them. Hope i can attend to your free trainings conducted for the farmers. Thank you.

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