The two-day National Cacao Congress at the SMX Convention Centre in Davao City, Philippines, was held on 24-25 November and brought together 70 exhibitors and 1,800 participants to discuss innovations and challenges in the country’s cocoa industry.

The theme of the event was “Cacao is Gold” and exhibitors from various backgrounds across the public and private sector, local government and other cocoa stakeholders were invited to showcase their expertise.

A particularly noteworthy demonstration came from the Philippine Centre for Postharvest Development and Mechanisation (PhilMech), under the Department of Agriculture, which showcased its latest technological developments for cocoa cultivation, postharvest and cocoa product manufacturing.

There is still a lot we can make out of cacao from its sweatings. That is the liquid dripping from the seeds when we take it from the pod. If harvested, it can make soft drinks, wine, vinegar, alcohol, etc.

Dr Rodolfo Estigoy, Spokesperson, PhilMech

The Cacao Congress had many objectives, including identifying market conditions, assessing the suitability of cacao in different locations, identifying global and local supply, and discussing strategies for appropriate and sustainable commodity valorisation.

There will be a lot of exchange of ideas as to what is the best way to take care of our cacao trees, one of those is the launch of a guide for farmers and stakeholders who would like to go into cacao farming.

Charito Puentespina, Founder, Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation

Aside from developing innovations to promote the country’s cacao sector, the Cacao Congress also aims to highlight the high-quality cacao and related products from Davao Region to attract the interest of foreign investors.

While the Philippines is one of the leading cocoa producers in Asia, it is hoped that further advances in agricultural practice and technology, as well as foreign investment, can make it the market leader for Asian cacao.

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