By Philippine News Agency
The Davao region is expected to become the country’s cacao capital especially when the five-year Davao Agricultural and Fisheries Development Plan 2018-2022 is completed.
“Agriculture is one of the priorities of Mayor Sara Duterte and with her pronouncements we are confident that Davao will become the cacao capital of the Philippines,” said Councilor Marissa Abella, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food of the City Council.
Abella said the plan was drafted as early as 2012 but it needs to be updated. Mayor Sara is set to issue an executive order reconstituting the technical working group to work on the plan.
Hopefully, she said, cacao will be included in the plan as there should be a program that will focus on production, and the monitoring of the area’s cacao production.
“Farmers need to have access to a state-of-the-art facility so they can come up with value added for cacao such as cacao liqueur and cacao butter for export,” she said. Cacao liquor is made from pure cocoa beans ground into cocoa paste and then molded into chocolate blocks.
Abella has pushed for the declaration of the Davao Region as Cacao Capital as early as 2015 given the important role it plays in the country’s cacao industry.
She said this will help growers improve their income, create jobs, livelihood and spur economic activities in the city and the region.
Data from the High Value Commercial Crops Development Program shows that 90 percent of the total cacao production in the country is sourced mostly from Mindanao. The same data shows that 80 percent of this comes from the Davao Region.
Davao City is also home to award-winning chocolate maker Malagos Chocolate and supplier of Askinosie Chocolate owned by social entrepreneur Shawn Askinosie.