Beyond chocolates, farmers eye more by-products out of cacao

There’s more to cacao than just chocolates.

Members of the Cacao City Marketing Cooperative are now exploring the potentials of cacao beans beyond its traditional by-product chocolates to boost the bid of putting Davao City in the global chocolate map.

Wit Holganza, one of the founding incorporators and the managing director of Cacao City Marketing Cooperative told Edge Davao during the recent Mindanao Trade Expo 2019 (MTE 2019) that by creating innovative products from cacao it will increase the demand, raise awareness, and help the cacao farmers.

Holganza said apart from sweetened nibs or snacking nibs like cacao granola, typical tablea, and chocolate bars cacao farmers and processors are also producing cacao tea from cacao husk and turning dry cacao leaves into skeletized cacao leaves lamp, paper, and notebook,

She also said by collaborating with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), they can produce wall paper, chair covers, as well as come up with an innovation of mixing plastic and cacao leaves to make dressers, closets, or furniture.

“I think there is so much potential with cacao beyond chocolate. There are so many things that we do outside of the bean. Everyone associate with the bean as chocolate but we have so many things that we can create already out of the cacao beans,” she said.

Holganza also said aside from what used to be known as a cacao bean major producer, Davao farmers and processors are now producing finished cacao products and are into value adding as well.

During the MTE, Cacao City in partnership with the Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship (ICHEF), hold the first cacao dessert baking competition and used the products (brands) of the farmer members as ingredients.

“We made sure that they use these different cacao products as ingredients. Kasi ang dami na nating cacao products to create chocolate desserts,” she said.

Holganza said Cacao City, which is a marketing cooperative composed of value adding processors that envision to become the purveyors of the Philippine’s finest cacao and chocolate products, is a significant partner of the farmers and processors because it will carry their finished products.

“Kami yung market and promotions arm for cacao. We are tablea makers and other cacao products. Under the cooperative we are cacao farmers and processors who buy beans from the cacao farmers and processed it to make either tablea or chocolate bars and candies,” she said.

Holganza said it is time for local consumers to patronize local cacao finished products to help the environment and help drive the economy of Davao City.

“Ang ganda ganda ng quality ng products natin, gamitin natin. Lets not buy fake chocolate, lets not buy products that came from across the globe because we know the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of all these products,” she said.

There is also a need to boost the production, according to Holganza, by propagating more cacao as the city is vying for the title chocolate capital of the Philippines.

“Its the challenge, kailangan palaguin pa talaga and continue promoting the propagation and the farming side of it. But in the meantime value adding is slowly catching up,” she said.

MTE 2019 has put a special focus on the edibles cacao and chocolate.