Cacao: the sunrise industry of Davao

LOCAL cacao producers are stepping a notch higher, escalating from solely planting the crop to becoming chocolate makers.

 Valente D. Turtur, executive director of Cacao Industry Development of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami), said there are now 200 local processors from 10 in 2010 as they are inspired on the success of homegrown firm Malagos.

 Malagos Chocolates, he said, have been renowned globally with its premium quality products.

 “From being solely farmers, they are now engaging into value-adding. They are now processing cacao to make tablea upon learning that it would help them double their income,” Turtur told the reporters Tuesday at the sidelines on Kakao Konek at SMX Davao Convention Center.

 He said a tablea, for instance, would cost P200 per kilogram, which is two times higher than selling cacao dried beans at P100 a kilogram. The potential raise in revenues attracted producers to also become processors.

 Experts from United States and Europe taught the participants, including processors, on chocolate making in the two-day Kakao Konek conference, which ended yesterday. The conference was joined by 700 participants, based on the records from Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

 “Our processors here in the region have an edge because they are the ones who produce cacao,” Turtur said.

 Government agencies like DTI and Department of Agriculture also provided necessary interventions to help the producers. DTI, for instance, provided shared-service facilities for cacao processing.

 But with the growing number of processors, Turtur said the supply would not be enough as the local makers alone needed 5,000 metric tons of cacao dried beans. He said the region’s supply was still not that high to meet the demand.

 Data from Philippine Statistics Authority bared that the region’s volume of production reached 5,073.83 metric tons last year, increasing from 4,920.27 metric tons in 2015. The region contributed most of Philippines’ production of 6,262.77 metric tons as of last year.

 The national government is also boosting efforts to increase the production.

 Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro said yesterday in Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape that there is an ongoing implementation of cacao double-up program, which aimed to double the production by 2020.

 “We targeted to have 100,000 hectares that would be planted with cacao by 2020,” Montenegro said.

 Cidami recorded that there is about 50,000 hectares that were planted with cacao in the country.

 The Regional Development Council XI (RDC XI) recently named the region the country’s cacao and chocolate capital as it noted its huge production.

 Based on its approved resolution, the council adopted the proposal of their economic development committee (EDC) to declare Davao Region as the cacao and chocolate capital of the Philippines.

 “This council further acknowledges the significance of adopting a regional branding for the cacao industry to actively promote public and private sector engagement in the industry,” RDC XI said.

 With the declaration, Maria Belenda Q. Ambi, regional director of Department of Trade and Industry XI and chair of EDC of RDC XI, said they would pursue plans to continuously boost the production of the crop and implement value-adding.

 “We would like to take pride on the fact that we are strong in cacao production,” Ambi said.

Posted in Business