THE province of Zamboanga de Sur successfully conducted its opening program for its four-day provincial cacao festival, which commenced on February 11, at Capitol's covered court in Pagadian City with the theme "1st Kakao Festival 2021: Zamboanga del Sur Chocolate Experience."
This provincial cacao festival, the first to be conducted in the entire region, is initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry-Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Office in partnership with the Provincial Local Government Unit of Zamboanga del Sur, Department of Agriculture-Zamboanga Peninsula and the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (Rapid Growth) Project. It aimed to showcase local producers and manufacturers of chocolates and cacao-based products, including local brands that are slowly making waves in the market and earning recognition for their distinct flavor and high-quality beans.
On February 11, the feast started with a motorcade around the major thoroughfares in Pagadian City that was joined by different line agencies, exhibitors and stakeholders of cacao industry from the province of Zamboanga del Sur. The ribbon cutting ceremony and opening program followed to officially open the Kakao Festival.
Flora G. Miraflor, director of DTI-Zamboanga del Sur, welcomed and acknowledged the guests, visitors, participants and exhibitors.
The welcome address was followed by the Keynote Message of the Provincial Governor, Victor J. Yu, followed by the Message of Support from Rad Donn L. Cedeno, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture-Zamboanga Peninsula.
The guest speaker was no less than the national chairperson of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council, Armi L. Garcia.
Also present during the opening program were: Deputy Speaker Divina Grace Yu (1st District of Zamboanga del Sur); Valente Turtur, president, Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami); Assistant Secretary for Mindanao and OIC Regional Director Myra Paz V. Abubakar, Department of Tourism-Zamboanga Peninsula; Assistant Regional Director Al-Zamir I. Lipae, DTI-Regional Office; Provincial Director Maridel D. Dengal, DTI-Zamboanga del Norte; Hazel J. Lu, president of the ZDS-Pagadian City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (ZDS-PCCCII); heads of the regional and provincial government agencies; board members and municipal mayors of Zamboanga del Sur; exhibitors; and cacao industry stakeholders (nursery operators, growers, traders and processors).
After the program, viewing of exhibits and free tasting of assorted chocolates ensued.
During the four-day event, everyone was invited to immerse him/herself and explore an assortment of chocolates to world-class chocolate Pralines to freshly-made champorado, sikwate and other value-added cacao products from locally grown produce. Visitors were also encouraged to witness and join the following activities:
* Good Agricultural Practices for Cacao Farm by Valente Turtur, president, Cidami (February 11, 2021, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
Culinary Showcase/ Hands-on Workshops:
* Live Demonstration Skills Training on Chocolate Muffin Making by Gracia's Chocolate Hub (February 11, 2021, 5:30 p.m.)
* Skills Training on Cacao Processing (Cacao Vinegar, Cacao Wine, Dark Chocolate) by Valente Turtur, president, Cidami (February 12, 2021, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
* Cake Decorating Contest (February 12, 2021, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
* Live Demonstration on Ganache Making (February 13, 2021, 10:30 a.m.)
* Live Demonstration on Choco Frappe/Milk Tea Making (February 13, 2021, 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
* Live Demonstration on Chocolate Praline Making (February 14, 2021, 3:30 p.m.)