DAVAO CITY – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is bullish on Davao Region’s cacao and chocolate industry as it moves faster to become the Philippine chocolate capital.
The city mayor said Davao Region could now supply 80 percent of the country’s total cacao production and contributing to the region’s rapid economic growth since the discovery of Davao’s potential to grow world-class cacao and produce chocolate products.
“Davao Region is now moving towards the prestigious name as chocolate capital of the Philippines,” Duterte-Carpio said during Thursday’s opening of the Davao Chocolate Festival organized by the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc (CIDAMi) and the SM Davao held at SM City Annex.
The city government is supportive of the cacao industry. In fact, it has put up a PhP2 million fund assistance that can be accessed by the cacao farmers.
As she congratulated the industry players for the four-year recognition to excellence of city’s fine quality chocolates, the mayor said: “Our sectors are connected beyond scope and denomination.”
She said the city’s vision to support cacao farming, processing, research and development is “our goal to provide opportunity to small entrepreneurs, farmers, and indigenous people to be major players in the cacao and chocolate industry and the production of globally competitive quality chocolates – all bring us together towards the aim of sustainable development.”
Duterte-Carpio said the city government’s on-going implementation of the cacao production and marketing of dry fermented beans under the Philippine Rural Development Project-Investment in Rural Enterprise and Agriculture and Fisheries productivity with the Subasta Integrated Multipurpose Cooperative reflects the city’s and farmers’ mutual interest in the cacao industry. Subasta is located in Calinan, Davao City.
The mayor committed to continue supporting the cacao industry. Last September, the city government opened “Cacao City” which serves as a retail outlet for cacao products, including chocolates.
The city mayor hopes that the chocolate festival will inspire not only as s means of livelihood but to indorse Davao city as destination of cacao and chocolate enthusiasts.
CIDAMI executive director Valente Turtur said the Chocolate Festival is the fourth, aimed at promoting Davao chocolate and the cacao industry.
“Tulong ito sa ating farmers (This is to support the farmers). We are dedicating this to the farmers,” Turtur said in an interview.
Since it was strongly promoted, Turtur said the cacao industry is flourishing positively and robust as more and more farmers are shifting.
It has also huge social impact on the farmers. From the 8,000 farmers engaged in cacao production, Turtur said the number has grown to 20,000 from three Davao Regions.
When in the past it was only Davao City and a few in Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte, Turtur said farmers in Davao Oriental have also engaged in cacao production. Davao Oriental is known as top producer of coconut and coconut products.
Turtur said the industry players are aiming to produce fine cocoa for bigger income because it is more preferred by professional chocolate makers.
Turtur also took note of the increasing number of chocolate processors from only six to 70 processors.
In an earlier interview, Turtur revealed there is a growing interest, especially the European chocolate makers, on Davao’s cacao because farmers have also leveled up in terms of quality.
He said farmers have learned technology of producing and preserving the quality of the beans, techniques and husbandry unlike in the past when they dry their beans on road pavements without minding of the dirt and animal droppings which affect bean quality.
He said the Philippine cacao beans and Davao’s locally produced chocolates are also getting world attention. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)