The Department of Agriculture- Cordillera (DA-CAR) through its High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) established 2 nurseries as source of quality planting materials for cacao farmers in Conner, Apayao. The establishment of the two nurseries was awarded to the Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) of Conner, Apayao and to the Conner Cacao Growers and Nursery Operators Association.

The turn-over ceremony was conducted last March 12, 2018 at Conner, Apayao. The activity was attended by DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo, MA.Ed; Hon. Leanardo D. Dangoy, Municipal Mayor of Conner, Apayao; Nicholas Abawag, Municipal Administrator; Corazon P. Gasmeña, Municipal Agriculturist; Dolores Ortega, HVCDP Coordinator of Apayao; and Rodolfo M. Cortel, President of Conner Cacao Growers and Nursery Operators Association.

Director Edillo encouraged the farmers to continue planting fruit trees since the area is conducive to fruit bearing trees. The DA will continue to support the effort of the farmers in this undertaking through farm-to-market road (FMR), processing center, agri-tourism, and the promotion of contour farming using high value crops, he added.

The nursery establishment aims to increase the production of cacao seedling. According to Rolando Renegado, HVCDP Technical Staff, the purpose of the nursery is to condition the seedlings before transplanting. It also aims to ensure quality of the seedlings and their high percentage of survival, and free from pests and diseases before these are transferred to the farmers.

According to Dolores Ortega, HVCDP Coordinator, the production yield of cacao in Conner Apayao is 1.3MT/ha last 2017. The establishment of the nursery will strengthen our common goal to sustain and improve the production of cacao in the locality, she added.

Aside from cacao, the nursery will also cater to other fruit bearing trees such as citrus, banana, mangosteen, rambutan, and among others.

Also present during the activity were Martina Dangoy, Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council Chairperson; Rito Siriano and Artemio Gonayon, Sanggunian Bayan Members; Barangay Captains; farmers; other LGU officials; among others.//Herman Danis