Agri chief tells cacao growers to venture into processing

DAVAO CITY(MindaNews / 25 August) – Newly-installed Agriculture Secretary William Dar urged farmers here to venture into processing after cacao beans grown in Davao Region are getting more international recognition.

“This is my plea to all stakeholders: let’s process and manufacture the beans that are produced in Mindanao right here in Mindanao, right here in Davao,” Dar told a press conference at the Grand Regal Hotel on Saturday.

Dar recognized the need to improve the technical know-how of the growers but said he would make sure to mainstream the big brother-small brother partnership among the industry stakeholders to propel the growth of the cacao industry.

He discussed plans on strengthening the value-chain system for the cacao industry with the Department of Trade and Industry.

The new agriculture head recommended grouping the fragmented small cacao growers and connecting them with business partners to expand the market because while the country is exporting “some of these fragmented beans, there is a deficit in terms of the requirements of the country.”

“There will be corresponding plans, program, and projects which are part of this cacao industry roadmap but we will strengthen it together with DTI. That we will now further institutionalize the value chain system and inviting the private sector, agripreneurs, who will bring with them their money, management know-how, technologies, and of course they have the market,” he said.

Records from The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the country’s production level in the country reached only 7,983 MT in 2018, 81% of which came from Davao Region.

From 2008 to 2018, the data also showed that production had grew only by 2,834 MT or 55.04%.

Recently, Jose Saguban, a farmer from Kialaw, Malabog in Paquibato District, Davao City, was named one of the finalists along with 49 other farmers from all over the world vying for 2019 International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon Du Chocolat in Paris, France on October 30, after his beans were selected as one of the top 50 cocoa beans out of the 223 samples from 55 countries.

Saguban’s entry was the only one to make the cut out of the five bean samples from the Philippines. The farmer supplies beans to Auro Chocolate, a maker of fine dark chocolates.

Last June, two Filipino premium chocolate brands brought the Philippines its first two gold awards at the prestigious 11th Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.

Bohol’s Dalareich 100% Unsweetened Chocolate and Davao’s Auro Chocolate’s 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate won gold under the Drinking Chocolate category.

Auro Chocolate also won two silvers for its 70% Dark Chocolate – Saloy Origin and 70% Dark Chocolate – Tupi Origin; bronze for 70% Dark Chocolate – Paquibato Origin, 64% Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, 42% Milk Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, 32% Mango White Chocolate with Pili Nut, 32% Moringa White Chocolate with Pinipig, and Roasted White Chocolate with Cashew Spread.

Another Davao-based chocolate maker, MS3 Agri-ventures, won bronze for MS3 Bonchoc with Cashew and Coffee Granules with Cashew and Coffee Granules under flavored category, 100% Dark Chocolate Tablet, and silver for its MS3 Bonchoc with cashew and coffee granules.

Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolate won three bronze for its 65% Dark Chocolate with black Sesame, Cashew & Pili, 65% Dark Chocolate with Green Mango and Salt, and 65% Dark Chocolate with Labuyo.

Contest veteran Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. also won five bronzes for Malagos 72% Dark Chocolate, 100% Pure Unsweetened Chocolate, 72% Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rhum Praline, and Almonds in Couverture Dark Chocolate, bringing its total international awards to 34 and one gold from a national competition. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)