THE Philippine Cacao Industry Development Council (PCIDC) will participate in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) for the first time to be held in October this year in Paris, France.

The ICA is a biennial event under the cocoa excellence program of the International Cocoa Organization.

The award aims to promote the good agricultural practices, excellent quality of cacao beans that will be considered as the most outstanding cocoa in the world.

Last week, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with PCIDC, conducted a conference calling out interested cacao producers in the country to participate in the contest.

ICA requires participants to submit at least five kilos of fermented cocoa beans from five different products to be received by the organizers on or before February 28.

Valente Turtur, president of PCIDC said they are considering cacao beans from seven different producers namely Puentespina Farms, Kennemer Foods, Chokolate de San Isidro, Pilipinas Oro de Cacao, Fedco, KVT Farm, and Comval Tropical Company.

Some 50 best cacao beans around the world will be chosen and acknowledged in October.

Turtur hopes that the Philippines will make it to the list.

He said previous winners include Indonesia and Vietnam. With this, he sees the potential of the Philippines, also being a Southeast Asian country and trusts the quality of the country's cacao beans citing Malagos Chocolate that has been winning global recognitions and has been exporting to different countries in Europe.

He added that if the Philippines would win, apart from being known worldwide, our cacao beans will also be given the opportunity to be processed in Europe as one of the best chocolates globally.

"With that distinction, prices of our chocolate will be stable and will not anymore be affected by world price fluctuations."