Three-day Chocolate Fair set in Davao City

Published July 6, 2022, 6:45 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The Davao City Cacao Industry Council is set to stage a three-day Chocolate Fair here featuring 12 homegrown exhibitors in hopes of stirring the demand in the local market for fine chocolates.

During ‘Wednesdays Media Forum’ at Habi at Kape in Abreeza Corporate Center, Wit Holganza, member of the cacao industry council, said that cacao players in the region have noticed there is not much change in the consumption of chocolates and other cacao-based treats that are grown and produced locally.

She said there is a need to increase the awareness of consumers about the Davao’s fine chocolates, particularly the pure dark cocoa, as most of the local consumers are more accustomed to the commercial brands that contain extenders which are being sold in the groceries.

The fair will open on July 7 at the Abreeza Mall in celebration of the Chocolate Day and will end on July 9.

Holganza added that organizers hope to introduce homegrown chocolates to the local consumers through the fair, as healthful alternatives to a variety of commercial chocolate brands.

Charita Puentespina, founder of Puentespina Farms, said local producers must highlight the ‘robust nutritional value of pure cacao.’

“What we have here in Davao are purely the beans – roasted, ground, and made into a drink. It has all the nutritional value. I believe that this drink could make our immune system very, very strong,” she said.

The Puentespina family owns the Malagos, which won several international recognitions for its fine chocolates.

Dante Muyco, chair of Davao Region Cacao Council, said that there is a need to strengthen the local market for homegrown products as he noticed that at least 70% of the sales from Cacao City, a one-stop shop for homegrown chocolate, came from the tourists.

He urged private sector in the city to promote local products, particularly owners of food establishments in the city to serve and develop cacao-based products to their customers to drive demand for local beans.

“On the quality side, Davao is in the forefront of all these things and Davao cannot afford to be sitting back and waiting for things to come,” he said.

Under Republic Act 11547 passed in 2021, the entire Davao Region has been declared as the cacao capital and Davao City as chocolate capital of the country.

The law recognizes the ‘importance of cacao as a driver of rural development not only because of its singular potential as a raw material that can increase the country’s export earnings tremendously, and put the name of the country in the map for producing the finest chocolate beans, but for having provided livelihood to many small farmers in the countryside.’

Out of the 15,000 metric tons of annual cacao production in the Philippines, Muyco said the region’s share accounts for at least 12,000 MT.

In a press release, Davao City Cacao Industry Council believes the recognition ‘has spurred our local cacao producers to increase the value of their products and generate additional revenue through value-added processing of specialty products such as chocolates, tableya and other unique cacao-based treats.’