Cacao Congress set in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 Nov) – The National Cacao Congress 2022 will be staged at the SMX Convention Center Davao from November 24 to 25, highlighting the growing chocolate industry of the Philippines.

Drying cacao beans in Tugbok District, Davao City. MindaNews file photo by RUBY THURSDAY MORE

Dante Muyco, co-chair of the National Cacao Congress, told Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday that the event seeks to strengthen the position of the country, particularly Davao as the national cacao capital, in the global chocolate map.

He added that the event would be a good venue to discuss with the industry’s domestic and foreign development partners on how the local stakeholders, particularly farmers, can further improve the industry.

Muyco said that plant nutrition expert Bruce Pearse, of Soil Mates based in West Australia, would discuss “Regenerative Agriculture: Concepts and Best Practices, and its Implication to Cacao Production” with emphasis on the measures that can be taken to bring nutrition back to the soil.

The congress is organized by the Philippine Cacao Industry Association, Inc. (PCIA) in partnership with Philippine Cacao Industry Council, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Interior and Local Government.

In a briefer released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao, the country envisions having a globally competitive and sustainable Philippine cacao and chocolate industry “built on a strong Philippine Brand of quality cacao.”

It also targets to produce 50,000 metric tons of quality fermented beans by 2026 to meet the demand of the export and domestic markets.

Out of the 15,000 metric tons of annual cacao production in the Philippines, Muyco said the region’s share accounts for at least 12,000 MT.

Charita Puentespina, founder of Puentespina Farms and Malagos Chocolates who is also a trustee of PCIA, added that around 1,800 stakeholders from all over the Philippines will be joining the congress where successful chocolate processors and their products will be showcased.

“We hope that being the host, we should go and see what we really have and what the industry has done to help our processors and our young farmers who have done very well in cacao growing and chocolate making,” she said.

She added that there will be discussions on the best practices, including the problem of climate change.

Puentespina added that they noticed a change of fruiting pattern of their cacao trees while the strong rains in the city could potentially affect the yield at their farms in Davao.

The Malagos Chocolate Museum in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Delia Ayano, assistant regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao, said the theme of this year’s congress is “Cacao is Gold,” which suggests “profitable” opportunities for those who are engaged in the business of cacao growing and processing.

She said that among the objectives of the congress include ascertaining the global and local supply and market conditions of cacao, assessing cacao suitability in different geographic locations, and coming up with upscaling strategies on the ways forward to address cacao industry and suitability and sustainability.

Under Republic Act 11547 of 2021, the entire Davao Region has been declared as the cacao capital and Davao City as the chocolate capital of the country.

The law recognizes the “importance of cacao as a driver of rural development not only because of its singular potential as a raw material that can increase the country’s export earnings tremendously, and put the name of the country in the map for producing the finest chocolate beans, but for having provided livelihood to many small farmers in the countryside.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)