THE Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao (Cidami) has observed an increase of cacao farmers engaging in chocolate production.
Cidami president Val Turtur said many people have become interested in cacao farming and production as reflected by the number of new participants in this year’s gathering of cacao industry players - Kakao Konek.
“Ang nakagwapo ani karon ang nakita namo, naay mga 60 to 70 percent nga bag-o ni sila. Ang 30 percent ang naga balik lang (What is good here is we observed that 60-70 percent of the participants are new, while the remaining 30 percent are repeat participants),” he said.
He said most of them are into processing cacaos into chocolates.
“This year’s Kakao Konek focuses on the chocolate industry because we observed that many are interested and are actually engaged in chocolate making,” Turtur said.
He said local chocolate makers all over the country have reached more than 200 and around 30 of them have established a brand.
“This is an indication also that business climate in cacao or chocolate is good. This is also a positive sign for our farmers to have better income because we have a strong local market,” he said.
For this year’s Kakao Konek, Turtur said they partnered with experts from Europe and the United States to give trainings to farmers in making fine chocolates.
Turtur also commended the government for listening to the private sectors to improve their programs on cacao.
He said the private sectors, through the Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC), promised to help the government in carrying out their programs such as monitoring and training of the cacao farmers.