Top government officials promised to pump prime the cacao industry and the cacao farmers in Davao Region during the opening of the two-day National Cacao Congress 2023 (NCC 2023) held at SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center on Thursday.
Senator Mark Villar vowed to support the industry by helping the farmers to achieve higher yields for their cacao farms to reach not only the local demand but to achieve the fame being earned by Filipino cacao growers who have been recognized for the quality of their products.
“A lot of opportunities await the cacao industry and our cacao farmers. As your senator, you can rely on me for the support that you need for your continuous development,” he said in his message during the congress.
In terms of the source of production, the Philippine Statistics Authority records that 81% of the total annual production of cacao in the country comes from Davao region.
Through the passage of Republic Act No. 11547, which was initiated by his mother, Senator Cynthia Villar, Davao City was declared as the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines” and Davao Region as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines,” on May 31, 2021.
Apart from this recognition awarded to Davao City and Davao region, his mother also passed Republic Act No. 11524, otherwise known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, which provides support to 2.5 million Filipino coconut farmers.
Villar also recognized a cocoa farmer in the Davao Region, Jose Saguban, who was chosen as one of the producers of the Top 50 best cocoa bean samples in the world at the prestigious 2019 International Cocoa Awards.
Also chosen as among the world’s best in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) in Paris are the products of Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation, which runs the renowned Puentespina Farms in Malagos, and makers of Malagos Chocolate.
Meanwhile, Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Leo Tereso Magno has committed to help the cacao industry saying the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is bent on helping the cacao industry prosper through the government and private sector cooperation.
“I had a series of discussions with Councilor Marissa Abella, City Council’schair of the Committee on Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Food. I told her to make a roadmap on the things that we can help the cacao industry. Your goal is to address what the cacao industry needs, my office which is under the office of the President, has committed to your leaders that I am always willing to help you,” Magno said.
Magno said that he already had initial talks with some cacao farmers in Davao City about the high demand for cacao in the world and they are now working on how the industry could take advantage of this.
Carrying the theme “Cacao 2.0. Achieving Sustainability, Higher Productivity, Better Quality,” the activity was participated by 1,500 participants.
The NCC 2023 introduced the latest technologies on how to increase the income of the farmers by intercropping cacao and coconut.
It has been identified that the best plant to intercrop with coconut is cacao. This farming system will generate a higher income for the farmers.