Farmer-members of Tolosa Buffer Zone Association in Zamboanga City can now hope for better production and sales of their produce, thanks to the training in cacao production management and processing that has been facilitated by the Protect Wildlife project with guidance of the USAID’s Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative in the Philippines.
The livelihood assistance is made possible through Protect Wildlife’s partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the city government, and the private sector. The training helps cacao farmers in the buffer zone of Pasonanca Natural Park—a protected area and a major watershed in the city—understand modern cacao production practices, perform income diversification to reduce their dependence on unsustainable and destructive farming practices, and recognize sources of financing to sustain their livelihoods.
Last August, a five-day training of trainers was held to focus on cacao cultural management practices and techniques, value-added cacao-based processing and product development, and proper postharvest processing. As a result, the participants gained the needed knowledge and skills to help them cultivate and process high-quality cacao beans that would meet market standards. Aside from that, they enriched their appreciation of cacao industry, which was deemed to benefit other members of their organization whom they were expected to help also. (PWP/ May Anne Ramos)