European companies eyeing to buy cacao from the city

EUROPEAN companies are looking at the local cacao producers for their supply, a government official said.

 Edwin Banquerigo, assistant regional director at the Department of Trade and Industry, said that the interest is coming from countries like France, Switzerland, and Belgium.

 Last week, buyers from Valrhona France were assessing the capacity of the country to supply raw materials with the city as among the sources of cacao beans. “The already heard a lot of information that we can produce the beans,” Banquerico said. “There is now that global recognition.”

 Mindanao produces about 80% of the 44,000 metric tons that the country is producing with the Davao Region being a top contributor.

 Banquerigo said his agency facilitated the sending of the trial shipment for the Valrhona market of

of 25 metric tons, or around two containers’ worth of cacao beans. “Valrhona is looking into that possibility, and it is still to be finalized,” he said.

 Agencies are working on how to consolidate the arrangement regarding the shipment.

 Meanwhile, Switzerland currently has a demand of 1,000 metric tons of beans, while a Belgian buyer thinking of establishing facilities in Subic is also considering seeking the supply from the country.

 The Belgian demand is 500 MT per month.

 Davao currently has a supply of 10,000 MT of beans, he said.

 A buyer from Switzerland is also seeking to assist cooperatives working in the cacao industry. “They would like to help the cooperatives,” he said.

 “We really have to do our groundwork,” he said. “The key to export is sustainability. You cannot just export. You have to know how we can produce with sustainability.”

 Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who spoke at the opening of the Davao Chocolate Festival at the SM City Davao, said that the cacao players were in a good position, especially with the assistance being provided by local and national government agencies.

 In the city, for example, the city government allotted space along Palma Gil street called Cacao City, which is a space where those interested in the product can look at the finished products that are locally sourced.

 Cacao is also one of the major projects under agriculture of Mayor Duterte’s Byaheng Do30 program to develop the industry here.

 The city is gunning to become the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines, through opportunities for all players.

“We have an On-going implementation of the Cacao Production and Marketing of Dry Fermented Beans, a sub-project under the Philippine Rural Development Project-Investment in Rural Enterprise and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (PRDP-IREAP) with Subasta Integrated Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SIMPC),” the Mayor said during her State of the City Address last month.

 The project has 16 cluster members from Calinan, Tugbok, Baguio, and Marilog Districts with a total of 227 recipients, which includes 97 members of the Indigenous Peoples group.

 The Mayor also said the city was looking forward to the performance of cooperatives working on cacao.

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