THE Cebu Cacao Industry Development Council Inc. (CCIDCI) launched Tuesday, July 5, 2022, a three-day exhibit showcasing different cacao and chocolate products from different areas in Cebu.

The exhibit, which is being held at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu, will run until July 7. It has been held as part of this year's celebration of the World Chocolate Day, which is on July 7.

Among the chocolate products being featured are those from Armsons Foods Corporation, Rachael's Homemade, Jomara-Bionutrient (Compost/Fertilizer), The Chocolate Chamber, FCC, and Tesda.

CCIDCI president, Honorary Consul of Russia Armi L. Garcia, said in her opening remarks Tuesday, July 5, that the celebration is an opportunity for them to let the world know what the Philippines could offer when it comes to cacao and chocolate industry.

"Aside from we are celebrating the World Chocolate Day, the essence of this exhibit is to let the world know that, indeed, the Philippines has a driving and strong chocolate industry -- that we will soon become big players of the said industry," she said.

The organization has been taking its steps known to the world as two Davao-based farmers made it to the top 50 for best cacao beans in the prestigious International Cocoa Awards (ICA) hosted in Paris, France in December 2021.

“Our goal is not only to be known to the world but also to revive the tradition of drinking ‘tsokolate,’” Garcia added.

The council also aims to inform and educate the local consumers of the existence of the industry and encourage them to support the local production.

The National Industry Association, together with the CCIDCI, has been eyeing to increase the production of local farmers as local consumption has also increased.

To make it happen, they have gathered the big players in the industry, including members of the academe, experts in the field, scientists, government agencies, Department of Agriculture, and Bureau of Plant Industry. The council was then able to come up with a manual on the production and post-production of cacao.

During Tuesday’s launching, the newly elected officers of CCIDCI also took their oath.

The officers include Consul Armi Garcia as president (AFC), Vice President Edu Pantino (The Chocolate Chamber), secretary Emma Ramas, treasurer Maria Elena Limocon (Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative, auditor Jansel Navarro (JN Cacao), and the Board of Trustees Aaron Que (Philippine Inno Ventures Agriculture Cooperative), Melencio Santos (Plantacion de Sikwate), Emma Carriaga (Sibonga Multi-Purpose Cooperative), Joshua Lanutan (Guilang's Tableya), Mae Perez (Carson Hills), Diomedes Alcomendras (Sibonga MPC), Marie Thessaly Cabizares (Castillon's Tableya), and Clavel Aves (FCCT). (Irish Delima, CNU intern)