Mayor Sara Duterte is hopeful that the lives of small cacao farmers in the city will transform as the local government aggressively pushes for the development of cacao industry.
On Monday, the mayor led the formal opening of ‘Cacao City’ at the Pasalubong Center on Palma Gil St. here Monday. It is a project undertaken by the LGU, through the City Agriculture Office, and the private sector.
The Cacao City would serve as a show window and a retail outlet for cacao products, including chocolates. Davao City has been aiming to become the country’s chocolate capital.
It is like a ‘chocolate cafe’ — where one can drink hot sikwate and buy cocoa products like tableya and ready-to-eat chocolate bars.
“We envision that this is the venue for the buyers and suppliers together,” she said. “This is a venue where we can help more SMEs and more small farmers get into cacao farming and cacao processing.”
The objective, she said, is for cacao farming to become a profitable venture — eventually transforming lives of farmers.
“We hope in the end, it will help uplift the lives of fellow Filipinos. This is one of our projects under our program on poverty alleviation,” she said.
For Davao City to become the ‘Chocolate Capital of the Philippines,’ there is a need to provide the opportunity to small entrepreneurs, marginal farmers, upland farmers, and the indigenous people to become major players in the cacao and chocolate industry.
“We want our farmers to become producers of globally-competitive quality chocolates,” she said.
Leo Leuterio, head of the Davao City Agriculture Office, said the LGU is serious in helping the cacao sector.
He noted that Davao City has already made a mark as a destination for cacao enthusiasts — as it now boasts of the “tree to bar production chocolate experience”.
One of the popular tourist destinations in Davao now is the Chocolate Museum in Malagos.
“If you want to do it right, the chocolates and cacao are right here in Davao,” Leuterio said. “Davao is now part of the global map for cacao and chocolates that is why we put up a centerpiece of cacao here through the Cacao City.” (Davao ity Information Office)