French firm to source cacao from Davao

A FAMOUS French chocolate company will be sourcing its cacao beans from Davao-based cacao farmers after its visit in the city last week, applauding the quality and taste of the city' cacao beans.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao Assistant Regional Director Edwin Banquerigo, in an interview, said Valrhona, a French chocolate company, which is famous for its high-quality of chocolate products and is internationally-exported, has decided to source from Philippines after hearing numerous good reviews from other international chocolate makers about the quality of the country's cacao beans.

In the Philippines, Banquerigo said Valrhona chose Davao City's cacao beans due to its quality taste that is different from the other cacao grown in the country.

"Different places, different flavors. And so far, most international companies always prefer the chocolate here in our city," he said.

Banquerigo said DTI gave Valrhona, during their recent visit, 15 kilograms of cacao beans for them to bring to Paris, France for further taste tests with other chocolate makers.

He added that the DTI will be sending another 10 kilograms of cacao beans next month in addition to the previous samples they have given.

"Our agreement, along with Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc (Cidami), is to ship 25 metric tons of cocoa beans quarterly straight to Paris," Banquerigo said.

With Valhrona's supply demand, he said the country can sufficiently provide it as the national cacao production is 12,000 metric tons annually.

Meanwhile, a Swiss chocolate company has shown interest to source 1,000 metric tons of cacao beans from the city's growers.

Banquerigo said DTI and Cidami will be assessing which among the cacao growers in the city will supply the two international chocolate companies.

"We want to feature our small cacao growers to give them the opportunity to expand their business and encourage more farmers to consider cacao farming," he said.

At present, DTI is at the final planning regarding the cacao shipment for Valhrona.

Banquerigo added that DTI will be in constant dialogue with Department of Agriculture, Cidami, and other organizations of cocoa farmers to discuss the details on the sustainability of cacao production amid the increasing numbers foreign companies sourcing cacao beans.
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