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DAVAO CITY IS CHOCOLATE CAPITAL OF PH — VILLAR

Citing Philippines Statistic Authority (PSA) data showing Region XI (Davao Region) as the top cacao producer in the country, Senator Cynthia Villar wants to declare Davao City as the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines” and Region XI as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines.”

In her Sponsorship Speech on the proposed Senate Bill 1741, Villar said PSA record indicated that approximately 78.76% of annual production of cacao in the Philippines came from the Davao region composed of Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao de Oro and Davao Occidental. They are the top 5 producers in terms of volume of production.

“There are more than 20,000 hectares of cacao farms in Davao Region, and Davao City, amongst the 5 provinces, has the largest area.”

The chairperson of the Senate committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, also related there are more than 20,000 hectares of cacao farms in Davao Region, and Davao City, amongst the 5 provinces, has the largest area.

The veteran legislator’s proposed bill seeks to recognize Davao “as the country’s biggest producer of cacao and its vital contribution in making the Philippines world-renowned and sought after by chocolate makers”.

The bill also hopes to make Davao City and the Davao Region become an inspiration and a benchmark to motivate other Local Government Units to emulate.

According to seasoned lawmaker, her bill simply gives recognition for the pioneering, outstanding collective contribution of the cacao farmers who supply dry cacao beans to the processors and manufacturers.

“These cacao farmers,” the lady senator said, “have received international acknowledgment as evidenced by the awards they got over the years.”

She emphasized that Davao’s Malagos Chocolate is one of the frontline brands of the Philippines in the international market.

“Malagos chocolates has made it to the list of the Best 50 Beans in the World.”

“Malagos chocolates,” Villar said, “has made it to the list of the Best 50 Beans in the World under the Cocoa Excellence Programme in 2017.”

To date, she said Malagos Chocolates has won 28 International awards.

The chocolate, commercially launched in June 2013, were made from the ethically grown and processed cacao beans that have been carefully graded, fermented and solar-dried in the Puentespina Cacao Farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City.

Another multi-awarded brand is Auro Chocolates, which takes pride in its bean-to-bar process since they have cacao beans that are fully traceable in planting communities in the Philippines.

The fine cacao and chocolate were directly sourced beans from Davao farming partners.

Its commitment to quality has earned it 23 international awards including the Top 20 Best Cacao Beans Award–a first for the Philippines–in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA).

But amid all the challenges the cocoa sector is facing particularly the formidable upstream segments of the value chain, Villar said the Davao City government has allocated financial support to the cacao industry by opening the “Cacao City” at the Pasalubong Center in 2017.

It is a “chocolate café” that also serves as an outlet for cacao products, including chocolates and also to support cacao farming, processing, research, and development.

She also said the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. or CIDAMI, a non-profit based in Davao is also the leading cacao value chain organizer in cacao.

It serves as the link between and among the private and government sectors, other NGOs and other cacao stakeholders across the country to facilitate the rapid development of the cacao industry.

It also intends to empower cacao farmers through training and seminars on cacao.

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