The establishment of trading and processing centers for cashew will make Puerto Princesa a trading hub that can accommodate more than 130 metric tons of cashew nuts produced annually in the city and the whole province of Palawan.
Lorraine Banzuelo, head of the Local Economic and Investment Promotion Office (LEIPO), said that during the recent investment forum, they urged investors to fund the cashew trading and processing center.
Some of the properties owned by the city government were offered to prospective investors for those interested to pursue with cashew processing center, while cashew trading center can locate in Barangay Irawan, where the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the city government constructed a facility for marketing of agricultural products.
“Ini-offer natin ito sa investors kasi ito yung ready tayo. May mga lupa ang City na pwedeng ibenta o for lease doon sa mga investors na gustong mag-invest dito sa ating mga preferred areas for investment. Ito yung mga lupa na naayos na ng ating Asset Management Team,” she said.
The trading center for buying and selling of cashew will make not only make the city as a major trading hub and producer of cashew in the country but it will also provide a steady supply of nuts after the harvest season from March to May and regulate the increase in cashew price (by 200-300%) after harvest season.
Puerto Princesa produced an estimated 1,270.36 metric tons annually based on the City Commodity Investment Plan. In the entire province of Palawan, some 25,900 hectares planted with cashew posting 138,708 metric tons production which is equivalent to P 1.3 Billion/year.
Banzuelo said that raw cashew nuts can be further incorporated into food products such as ice cream, pastries, chocolates and other similar items in factories located in Luzon and Visayas areas, therefore having a trading center in the City will boost economic activities and provide additional jobs for the local residents.
Another project that their office is promoting is the cashew processing center. This project seeks to establish a facility for cashew processing center that is semi- or fully-mechanized that will produce high quality whole and split nuts. Packaging will entail professionally-done labels with nutrition facts with certificates for Halal, FDA, DOST and other agencies for permits and clearances.
Richard Gabo of the research and development division of the Department of Agriculture-Palawan Agricultural Experimentation Station (DA-PAES) said they are focusing their research on cashew since this is a dominant commodity in Palawan.
Naka-focus ang research naming sa cashew kasi yan ang gusto ng region (regional office). Ito yung commodity na marami tayo at ang ibang probinsya ay wala. Iaaral namin ngayon itong paggamit ng synthetic fungicide to control disease na present ngayon sa ating cashew,” he said.
“Pagmatapos na itong ginawang research ay gagawan natin ng project proposal para magkaroon ito ng budget na magagamit sa initial study at pag-control nitong fungal disease sa kasoy,” he explained.