DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 June)—Three cacao farmers from this city will represent the country in the 2023 International Cocoa Awards at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France from October 28 to November 1.
This was announced by Director Abel James I. Monteagudo, of the Department of Agriculture-Davao, at the opening of the Mindanao Artisan Chocolate Fair on Friday at SM City Davao.
These farmers are Judith Gabasa of Bagong Silang and Policarpo Enricoso Jr. of Barangay Saloy in Calinan District, and Melina Villaflor of Callawa, Buhangin District.
Monteagudo said they would be flown to Paris after winning the Philippine Cacao Quality Awards (PCQA) last year in Butuan City out of 100 entries from all over the country.
“Davao Region really has what it takes to be recognized as the Chocolate and Cacao Capital of the Philippines with chocolate products at par with the best in the world,” he said.
He said that the agency would continue to strive to make the region produce more “best cacao beans” and “empower more award-winning cacao farmers, chocolatiers, and entrepreneur to be globally competitive.”
Monteagudo added that cocoa processors in the region are “scaling up,” many of them are venturing into the international markets like the United Arab Emirates and the United States, which have preference for dark chocolates from the Philippines.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), cacao production during the first quarter of 2023 slightly declined to 2,350 metric tons from 2,380 MT reported in the same period of 2022.
Out of this total, Davao Region produced 1,800 MT or 76.6 percent share to the country’s cacao production during the quarter.
Monteagudo said there is a growing demand for cacao in the global market.
He said local supply could not meet the high demand from domestic and international markets, which present huge market opportunity for the local farmers.
Acknowledging that the Philippines may not be able to compete with other countries that produce high volume of cacao, he said the government is focusing on improving the “quality” of the beans.
Under Republic Act 11547 passed in 2021, the entire Davao Region has been declared as the cacao capital and Davao City as 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)