BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Department of Trade and Industry here conducted the first Cacao Congress to promote the cultivation and production of cacao in the province.
Attended by 88 cacao farmers, processors and enablers, the event was highlighted with the presentation of the roadmap, history, investment opportunities, and milestones of the cacao industry, and the formation of the Cacao Industry Development Organization of Montañosa where they will build their networks for cacao production, marketing, and promotion.
DTI-Cordillera OIC Director Juliet Lucas said cacao processing needs a strong support system to thrive.
“The DTI is in full support of capacitating the farmers relative to the mandate of the government of building a globally competitive, innovative business owner,” she said.
Representatives from the Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, provincial local government unit; and departments of Labor and Employment, Environment and Natural Resources, and Agrarian Reform also shared their programs and projects on the development of the cacao industry.
Provincial Administrator Franklin Odsey also expressed support to the group, saying developing the cacao industry in the province will succeed if there is unity among the stakeholders.
Demonstration of cacao product innovations and sharing of testimonies by successful cacao producers and chocolate processors and selling of cacao seedlings and products like chocolates and tablea were also held during the congress.
Local cacao products were also put on display and for sale. – Valerie Taguba