DAVAO CITY – Four cacao farmers, three of whom are from the Davao Region, will represent the country in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) in October this year at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
A statement from the Department of Agriculture in Region 11 (DA-11) on Wednesday said out of the 23 cacao bean entries submitted by farmers engaged in cacao farming nationwide, only the cacao beans of Christopher Fadriga of Barangay Atipulan, Bago City, Negros Occidental; Arthur Lagoc of Barangay Talandang, Tugbok District, Davao City; Solidad Robillo of Barangay Gumalang, Baguio District, Davao City; and Carlos Barsicula of Barangay Sawata, San Isidro, Davao del Norte passed the series of evaluation and selection processes of the 2021 Philippine Cacao Quality Award (PCQA) which was held here.
Charita Puentespina, 2021 PCQA organization committee chair, said the competition seeks to increase awareness of the opportunities resulting from high-quality cocoa production.
“By showcasing not just the best practices of our cacao farmers but the quality of their products in the international arena, it will create market linkages which will open more market doors and vast opportunities for our cacao farmers,” she added.
During the event, cacao experts evaluate the aroma, external appearance, fissuring, and color of the cacao beans on the first phase while a group of chocolatiers evaluates the second and final judging.
“We are confident with our national entries to the ICA as we believe in the unique and exceptional quality of our cocoa. For years, Filipino cacao farmers have been making it big in the international market. This has been made possible with the support from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Davao City Agriculture Office,” Puentespina said.
To recall, Puentespina Farms won in the “Best 50 Beans in the World” in 2017, while Jose Saguban made history for the country as he won the first-ever Top 20 Best Cacao Beans Award in Salon du Chocolat Paris in 2019.
Just last month, Auro Chocolate once again made the country proud when it won five golds in the ICA 2020 – Asia Pacific, including the Best in Competition and Overall Winner for the 50 percent Regalo-Single Varietal-Milk Chocolate.
Meanwhile, DA-11 Technical Director for Operations Marila Corpuz lauded the Davao cacao farmers for making it big in the domestic and international markets.
“We are proud and thankful that our farmers have utilized the support given to improve their livelihood and the quality of their produce. These cacao farmers are beneficiaries of our High-Value Crops Development Program — cacao project that provides production support such as seedlings, technical support from various training and marketing support through exhibits,” she said. (PNA)