Agri biz hopes to inspire farmers with recognition

RECOGNITION of Puentespina Farms’ raw cacao beans as among the top 50 Best Bean Samples worldwide will hopefully inspire farmers to plant more cacao trees that will produce high-quality beans as well.

Last October 28 to November 1, Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation Sales and Marketing Head Rex Puentespina was at Paris to receive the award by the 2017 Cocoa Excellence (CoEx) Programme as being one of the best 50 cacao beans globally. Out of the 166 cacao bean samples from 40 countries, Puentespina Farms cacao bean was one of the awardees and the only one from the Philippines. The 50 best cocoa beans were processed into chocolates by the international technical committee of CoEx and were showcased at the Salon du Chocolat.

“Definitely, it will inspire farmers to plant more cacao trees so we can put up dent in the world market. Right now, we are like ‘new kids in the block’. We are very new to the industry but we are being recognized because the quality of the beans that we’ve been producing is recognized by top players in the industry,” Puentespina said.

He added that having the recognition awarded to the cacao beans, which is the raw material, and not just the chocolates already is also a recognition to the efforts of the cacao farmers. Because of the recognition, the presence of the Philippine cacao beans in top-quality radar had been intensified and Puentespina hopes that the chocolate makers all over the world will notice the Philippines.

“This is a valuable recognition for us since the focus of the evaluation is on the bean quality – the raw material itself. This is huge for the cacao industry as this proves that Philippine beans can compete side by side with the other top producers from cacao-growing countries,” he said on an official statement they released on August 16.

Currently, he said Malagos chocolates already have an export market although still not as huge. They hope to expand more in the coming years as they already found the local market to be very strong.

Malagos Farm grows Trinitario clones, a cross breed of Criollo and Forastero varieties, specifically and predominantly the UF 18, BR 25, and PBC 123 clones. These beans are the same beans used for the award-winning Malagos chocolates.

Other countries that were able to make it to the top 50 include cocoa producers from Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatamela, Haiti, Hawaii, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malaysia, Martinique, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

During the course of the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, Puentespina said they also had a booth put up which was sponsored by the Export Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade Industry (DTI). They were side by side and were able to be introduced to the big players of the fine-flavored chocolate industry.
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