Japanese firm eyes Davao City

SEEMS like Davao's position as the chocolate capital of the Philippines will be strengthened as a high-end Japanese chocolate firm is eyeing to expand operations in Davao City, an official said.

Davao City Investments Promotions Center head Lemuel Ortonio shared that the foreign company has signified interest in establishing a chocolate manufacturing facility in the city.

Ortonio said though nothing is final, they are positive that the project will push through. The official refused to name the company.

"The Japanese chocolate maker is already, let's say, 80 percent convinced they can finalize the decision within this year," he said.

Ortonio told reporters that a feasibility study was already presented to city officials last year by representatives of the Japanese company.

He said the investment is seen to help local cacao farmers market their beans in the international market.

The investment official added the company wanted to locate its project in the city’s 3rd District where most of the cacao farmers operates.

"The compamy will source cacao here,processed it into chocolate bars and market it in Japan. But we will make sure that proper labeling will be observed so Japanese would know that it is from Davao," Ortonio said.

Of the total cacao production in the country, Davao Region accounts for over 80 percent.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said last December that the City Government of Kitakyushu in Japan is interested to import cacao and eels from Davao City.

The mayor said it is in exchange of imparting waste-to-energy related knowledge to the Dabawenyo delegates.

“Since we cannot help them with solid waste management because they are more modernized, what they want to check out in the city is the cacao because chocolate is a big industry in Japan. Also, Kitakyushu City have their own chocolates,” said Duterte-Carpio.

She added the Kitakyushu government is also interested in Unagi, or the freshwater eel.

The mayor said an eel farm is currently operating in Toril and they are considering visiting that to see possible partnership.

She said that this interest of Kitakyushu to import cacao and freshwater eels from Davao City stemmed out from the green sister city agreement between Davao City and Kitakyushu City.
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