Davao region now the country’s cacao and chocolate capital

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 July) – Supplying at least 81 percent of the country’s total cacao production and home to world-class dark chocolates, Davao Region is now the cacao and chocolate capital of the Philippines.

A Regional Development Council (RDC) 11 resolution passed on June 9 but only announced to the media on July 2 said it has adopted the proposal of the council’s Economic Development Committee to declare the region as such.

According to the resolution, the council noted that cacao production in the region has been increasing since 2010 with an average growth of at least six percent annually from 2010 to 2016, making it the center of the cacao trade in the country.

Workers graft cacao seedlings at the Davao City’s nursery in Malagos district. Mindanews file photo by Keith Bacongco 

It also highlighted the 20,000 farmers who have benefited from the opportunities offered by the cacao industry.

There are more than 100 chocolate processors, most of whom have developed a chocolate variety using coco sugar.

The region has more than 100 cacao nurseries with a combined production capacity of over 10 million seedlings and has 10 cacao training facilities.

“The Council finds merit in the proposal considering that the cacao industry has been identified as one of Davao Region’s priority industry clusters under the Davao Regional Development Plan (RDP), 2017 to 2022,” the resolution said.

The council acknowledged the significance to adopt the regional branding for the region’s cacao industry to promote public and private sector engagement.

As of 2016, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 6,262.77 metric tons (MT) of cacao produced in the Philippines that has an annual demand of 50,000MT.

Of this volume, 5,073 MT was produced in the region – Davao del Sur (1,702.54MT), Davao City (1,606.80), Davao del Norte (945.31MT), Davao Oriental (507.26MT), and Compostela Valley (311.92MT).

The US Department of Agriculture-supported Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao (CIDAMI) said the “global demand is expected to reach between 4.7 million to 5 million metric tons by the year 2020, and global supply will be at a deficit of 1 million MT.”

It noted the deficit “has given rise to the Philippine Cacao Challenge, which commits the Philippines to producing 100,000MT by the year 2020 and onward.”

Quality chocolates

On June 20, Davao City-based Malagos Chocolate snatched two bronzes again at the 2017 Academy of Chocolate in London for its sweetened dark chocolates only two weeks after it won silver in the same competition for its 100% unsweetened dark chocolate under drinking category last June 5.

Malagos chocolates

The other winners of bronze are Amma Chocolate’s Amma Chocolate 75% (Brazil), Menakao 100% (Madagascar), One/One Cacao-Mahogany Hall 71% (Jamaica), St. Vincent Cocoa Company’s Vincentian Chocolate (Saint Vincent and Grenadines), Belvie Chocolate’s Belvie Tien Giang 70% and Belvie Hao Mac 80% (Vietnam), Krakakoa 70% single origin Sedayu (Indonesia), and T. Brothers’s t.brothers dark chocolate Ba Ria 70% (Vietnam).

The two latest bronzes brought to seven Malagos’ major international awards. The Academy of Chocolate awarded the company silver under Drinking Chocolate category for its unsweetened chocolate in 2016 and bronze under Best Unflavoured Drinking Chocolate in April 2015; the Great Taste Awards in London gave two out of three stars to Malagos unsweetened chocolate in 2016; and another silver for the Malagos Dark Chocolate won during World Drinking Chocolate Competition organized by the International Chocolate Awards in October 2015 in Hannover, Germany.

The Academy of Chocolate, a London-based group comprising various professionals in the industry, holds independent competition to give recognition to excellence in fine chocolate-making. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)