As part from its traditional showcase of bountiful harvest, Kadayawan Festival will also focus the spotlight on cacao and its products.
City Agriculturist Office chief Edgarde Haspe said harvest season for cacao came early in June and July due to the heat wave felt in February and March.
“If we cannot display fresh fruits in August 2022, we can showcase our value-adding products such as cacao beans and chocolates. We have a lot of chocolate processors in Davao City right now,” Haspe said.
Haspe also noted that the production of cacao and other industrial crops such as coffee, rubber, abaca and pili nuts have increased in volume with 5,958.16 metric tons in 2019 to 6,802.45 metric tons in 2021.
“Being the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines, we do have a globally competitive processed cacao products and chocolates,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Davao Regional Cacao Industry Council (DRCIC), in a separate interview, said it is eyeing to increase local patronage for cacao byproducts through establishing pop-up stalls and “tsokolate” shops in the future to capture the younger market.
To increase consumption of “tsokolate,” the council has been focusing its messaging on the health benefits of drinking hot chocolate as part of the Dabawenyos’ lifestyle.
Charita Puentespina, the proprietor of Malagos Chocolate, said homegrown chocolate producers guarantee quality cacao byproducts compared to the fast-food chocolate options in the market.
“Our local beans varieties making it to the world competition for Top 50 best cacao beans in recent years has resulted in making the Philippines world-renowned and is increasingly sought after by chocolate makers,” she said.
Davao City has been recognized as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines and the Davao Region as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines through the Republic Act 115471.
The DRCIC said the recognition is a testament to the contribution of the cacao sector as a key driver of rural development. (PNA)