A chocolate processor with processing plant in Bunawan, Davao City is instilling Halal protocols to farmers in producing Halal chocolates and other chocalate products.
Neil Santillan, CEO and Managing Director of MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation told Edge Davao that members and farmers of the Davao City Chocolate Processor Association which he organized are now being imparted with the protocols of Halal.
”Our association have different clusters that were taught how to properly ferment to be Halal compliant para at least walang contamination. Ibig sabihin ng Halal ay para sa lahat at kung paano ginagawa ang produkto na walang contamination,” he said.
Santillan said they need to instill Halal protocols to the farmers whom they source their ingredients. He said they also financed the facilities like solar dryer and fermentation box that will be used by the farmers.
”Kailangan namin ng ingredients at sa farmers kami kumukuha. We manufactured halal and local products. Hindi lang chocolate kundi iba’t ibang crops. For us chocolate producer hindi na mabigat sa amin kasi yung post-harvest binigay na with my protocol at sinusunod nila,” he said.
MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation, the MS3 was awarded bronze award Philippines Best Cocoa Producer 2017 during the Asia Halal Brand awards held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, was established as a livelihood project for OFW partners. Mr. Santillan, who was a former OFW in Qatar left his work to manage the plant here. MS3 is a food manufacturer of flavoured dark chcolates, chocolate nibs, cacao tear, and cocoa butter.
“Nagtayo kami ng livelihood project dito sa Pilipinas as an investment of OFWs. Para pag-uwi nila sa Pilipinas may investment sila. May mga kasamahan kami na Kristiyano at ibang tribu. Nagkakaisa kami dito para makatulong sa mga farmers,” he said.
He said they saw a big opportunity in Halal chocolates that they developed from raw materials to the end product.
“Bilang Muslim kailangan naming mag produce ng Halal na pagkain kasi kakaunti lang ang nag produce ng Halal na pagkain dito sa Pilipinas. Kahit tingnan mo sa iba’t ibang supermarket mahirap hanapin ang Halal na chocolate pero kung pupunta sila sa MS3, Halal ang chocolate naming. This is the only Halal chocolate in Mindanao. Bilang Muslim obligasyon naming na introduce ang Halal at alam naming ang proseso ng Halal. Alam naming yung sistema ng Halal assuring quality system from harvest to post-harvest to end-product,” he said.
In July this year, Santillan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a holding company Halal Malaysia that will market Halal chocolates and other products of MS3.
“I signed an agreement there na sila ang magtitinda sa Halal na produkto na gagawin namin sa Pilipinas,” he said.
Santillan said members of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce even visited their factory in Bunawan. He also said the Malaysian investors also offered to certify his products as Halal compliant.
He added that the MOU he signed was also for a joint venture agreement wherein Halal Malaysia will replicate his processed chocolate using their ingredients but will still use the brand MS3.
“Halimabawa dadalhin namin yung blocks of processed dark chocolates doon, it will be melted there using their local ingredients but still the brand is MS3,” the industry leader said.
In terms of volume of processed dark chocolates that will be brought to Malaysia have yet to be finalized according to Santillan.