Cacao Council updating beans standard, eyes world market

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

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 28 Sept) – The Philippine National Cacao Industry Council is updating its 10-year old Philippine National standard for Cacao Beans in a bid to make the quality of fermented cacao beans acceptable in the global market, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11 assistant regional director Edwin Banquerigo said.

Banquerio, also part of the secretariat of the council, said in an interview on Thursday that the body conducted its first consultation in April and held the second one on September 27 to gather inputs from the industry for the national standard.

A technical committee will be established to review existing standard created in 2008 taking into account the suggestions of the industry players during the consultations.

They hope the new set of standards gets approved by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in mid-2019, he said.

He said they expect it to complement the industry’s Cacao Roadmap that outlines activities and strategies to address competency gap in production, productivity, processing, number of hectares, and quality-related issues by assisting the farmers to enable them to produce high quality cacao beans.

“There was no request for a review before. It’s about time that we have to review to align with the international requirements. We hope the Philippine National Standard will be aligned with ASEAN and international standards to make sure we will be producing cacao that is acceptable in the international market,” he said.

He encouraged farmers to adopt good practices to increase productivity level to two kilograms per tree annually, expand production areas to 100,000 hectares, move up the value chain, strengthen market presence by establishing a brand, and focus on fine flavor cacao beans.

As of 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded that the country’s cacao production increased to 7,009 metric tons (MT) from 6,262.77 MT produced in 2016. At least 5,752.99MT or 82% of the total cacao production came from Davao Region.

Banquerigo said the country targets to 100,000 MT of dried fermented cacao beans by 2022 for the export and domestic markets. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)