DA urged to declare Davao Region as cacao capital

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – A Davao City Councilor on Tuesday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to declare the Davao Region as Cacao Capital of the Philippines.

Councilor Marissa P. Salvador-Abella, chairperson of the committee on agriculture and food, made the call in her privilege speech, saying that the region is the biggest cacao producer in the country, supplying about 80 percent of the requirement.

She said she will propose a resolution supporting Davao Region as Cacao Capital of the Philippines.

The entire region has 19,000 hectares planted to cacao while Davao City takes the largest chunk having around 6,060 hectares.

“Davao City is likewise home to award-winning chocolate maker, Malagos Chocolate, and supplier of Askinosie Chocolate owned by social entrepreneur Shawn Askinosie,” she said.

Last Friday, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and Department of Agriculture (DA) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to implement Cacao Double-Up Program during the Regional Cacao Congress.

The program is aimed at increasing by two-folds the industry goal from 100,000 metric tons of fermented cacao beans to 200,000 MT by year 2020.

Next year, at least P500 million will be allotted for Mindanao to plant some 17.8 million cacao seedlings.

This developed after leading candy maker Mars challenged the Philippines to increase its production to 100,000 MT by year 2020. However, with the looming shortfall brought about by increasing global demand and declining of production in West Africa, at least 1 MT is seen to be the supply gap by 2020.

The Philippines committed to fill in 10 percent of the global shortfall, which prompted industry stakeholders to come up with the Philippine 2020 Cacao Challenge.

Earlier, the Cacao Industry Development Authority of Mindanao Inc. (CIDAMI) was pushing for the creation of National Cacao Council, a body that will look into the growth of the industry.

CIDAMI executive director Valente Turtur said the industry lacks representation in the government that will push for its development.

The creation of a council will piece together the initiatives done by the Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, and DA for cacao development.