By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Homegrown Malagos Chocolate has started shipping its award-winning dried fermented cacao beans from Davao City to Canada, hoping to gain a foothold in the North American market, Rex Puentespina, sales and marketing director of Malagos Agri Venture Corporation, bared.
Puentespina said, in an interview on Wednesday, that the Davao fine-flavor chocolate company has initially shipped dried and fermented cacao beans to Canada, to introduce the locally grown beans to the markets in North America.
Puentespina said the firm opened a branch in Canada to strengthen the presence of Malagos Chocolate there.
He said the 23-country North American region could offer a promising future for the local cacao industry as it has a huge demand for fine-flavor chocolates.
“Hopefully, more (buyers) would be able to try it, and they will realize that they are very good fine-flavor beans. Hopefully, they will order in bigger volumes,” he said.
Puentespina added the company had previously tried to embark on regular shipments to the United States market, but this had to be halted due to insufficient production because there were few cacao growers then, with outputs sufficient only to cater to the strong local demand at that time.
He said they were trying to convince more farmers to grow cacao trees to ramp up production despite the reluctance of some farmers in taking on the challenge since other cash crops like banana could also offer them the livelihood.
“It’s the choice of the farmer. Banana is doing very well also, So, there is a lot of convincing to do. The government has so many programs for the farmers, but they can’t just go into it because they are hesitant to commit. If they commit, that will be your crops for the next 25 years,” he said.
Puentespina admitted venturing into cacao growing is major decision that has to be made by the farmers, but he remains hopeful that more growers would be encouraged to give it a shot.
He said the Malagos Chocolate has partnered with around 100 farmers in the city.
Malagos Chocolate has bagged various international recognitions and awards for its fine-flavor chocolates.
Among the recent ones included silver in 2020 Academy of Chocolate Awards for its Malagos rhum; 2019 Heirloom Cacao designation; bronze for its 100-percent pure unsweetened chocolate in 2019 Academy of Chocolate Awards; and Great Taste 1-Star in 2019 Academy of Chocolate Awards Commendation for its 65-percent dark chocolate.