Davao City-based farming group wins silver at Cacao of Excellence Award

Saloy Organic Farmers Association was recognized as one of the best cacao producers in the world

Saloy Organic Farmers Association (SOFA), a small group of cacao farmers based in Davao City, brought pride to the Philippines by winning the 2023 Cacao of Excellence Silver Award at the prestigious Cacao of Excellence Award. The ceremony happened in Amsterdam during CHOCOA 2024, an annual marketplace celebrating quality cacao and chocolate and sustainable farming.

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Saloy Organic Farmers Association 

With its mission to empower a new generation of cacao producers, the Cacao of Excellence Award collected over 222 entries from 52 cocoa-originating countries. Out of the roster, it selected its top 50 producers, which were awarded gold, silver, and bronze awards in various regions—Africa and the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America. SOFA, the only representative from the Philippines, was one of the recipients of the silver award in Asia and the Pacific region.

Led by Judith Gabasa, SOFA has been one of the seven farming partners of award-winning homegrown brand Auro Chocolate. Their partnership started in 2015, and since 2021, the Davao City farming association has been part of the brand’s Chocolate Organic Conversion program. The program aims to “provide assistance to the community in their efforts to convert to organic farming practices.”

Receiving the award on behalf of SOFA were Auro Chocolate’s co-founders and managing directors Kelly Go and Mark Ocampo. “It’s the second time for our farming partners to be awarded this prestigious award,” the brand posted on Instagram. “A new Philippine origin no less! Saloy!”

Also present at the event was Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya, who praised SOFA and Auro Chocolate’s efforts in bringing Filipino cacao to the world stage. “We commend Auro and the Saloy Farmers’ passion and dedication in making the Filipino-made chocolate recognized around the globe,” he said. “Philippine chocolate has come of age and is now world-class.”

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