By: Ercel Maandig
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A four-day “Chocolate Festival” kicked off here Wednesday, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 10 (Northern Mindanao) said it aims to expand opportunities for local cacao growers.
DTI-Misamis Oriental Director Almer Masillones said the festival has a total of 23 exhibitors who will showcase their products at the SM CDO Downtown Premiere here until February 16.
“We have been looking for avenues to promote and strengthen the cacao industry of the region and DTI is committed to establish a globally-competitive and sustainable cacao industry, as envisioned in the 2016-2022 Philippine Cacao Industry Road Map,” Masillones said.
She said she hopes that through the festival, the local cacao industry would be able to “mobilize all stakeholders for a concerted industry-wide development effort to produce 100,000 metric tons of dried fermented cacao beans by 2022, and be an active player in the global value chain and activity.”
Francisco Calote, chairman of the Northern Mindanao Cacao Industry Council, noted the growing demand for cocoa products.
“The world may soon run out of chocolate. This is the time when the country can contribute to the global supply,” Calote said, noting that judging from the current demands in chocolate and cocoa products, there will be a cacao supply shortfall by 2020.
In the Philippines, he noted that local consumption stands at 50,000 metric tons per year, way beyond the local supply of only about 10,000 metric tons.
He said Mindanao’s cacao production comprises 90 percent of the country’s total production, 80 percent of which comes from Davao region’s 20,000 hectares of cacao farms.
Masillones said Northern Mindanao could produce some 4,000 metric tons by 2022.
Noting that the region has taken small but great strides in developing its cacao industry, she said that as of last year, Northern Mindanao reported PHP38 million in investments and jobs for 685 farmers and processors. (PNA)