DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The local government here is keen on claiming the title as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines as it opens on Monday, October 2, the Cacao City cafe to showcase the cacao products of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here.
“Davao is now part of the global map for cacao and chocolates. That is why we put up a centerpiece of cacao here through the Cacao City,” said Leo Leuterio, head of the Davao City Agriculture Office.
The café, a joint project of the city’s agricultural office and the private sector, is located at the Pasalubong Center in Palma Gil Street here.
The city “now boasts of the tree to bar production chocolate experience”, Leuterio said, citing that it has already been a destination among cacao enthusiasts.
The Davao region supplies at least 81 percent of the country’s total cacao production.
During the opening of the Cacao City on Monday, City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the government envisions Cacao City as a place where buyers and suppliers will meet.
She said the end goal is for small cacao farmers in the city to be part of the profitable cacao industry. “We hope, in the end, it will help uplift the lives of fellow Filipinos. This is one of our projects under our program on poverty alleviation,” she said.
Davao City has a P5-million Chocolate Enterprise Development Project which aims to develop the city’s chocolate industry to contribute to job creation and poverty reduction.
During her State of the City Address last month, Duterte-Carpio said the project “will provide an opportunity for the small entrepreneurs, marginal farmers, upland farmers and indigenous people of Davao City to be major players in the cacao and chocolate industry by producing globally competitive quality chocolates.”
The city is currently implementing the Cacao Production and Marketing of Dry Fermented Beans, a sub-project under the Philippine Rural Development Project-Investment in Rural Enterprise and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity with Subasta Integrated Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
The project has a total of 227 recipients, 97 of them belong to the indigenous peoples groups from Calinan, Tugbok, Baguio, and Marilog Districts.
In June 9 this year, the Regional Development Council 11 passed a resolution adopting the proposal of the council’s Economic Development Committee to declare Region 11 as the cacao and chocolate capital of the Philippines.
The resolution noted that cacao production in Davao region had been increasing with an average growth of at least 6% annually from 2010 to 2016. (davaotoday.com)