Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for two measures that will further enhance the productivity of the Philippines cacao industry during a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform on Monday, October 5.
In his manifestation, Go urged industry leaders to take advantage of the rising global demand for cacao which will top off at five million metric tons (mt) in 2020.
The Philippines presently produces an annual average of 15,000 mt of cacao.
However, it also consumes more than triple the amount at 50,000 mt of cacao per year.
The Senator highlighted the industry’s potential to generate jobs, particularly in rural areas where employment opportunities are often harder to find. He lauded Senate Bill No. 1741, filed by Senator Cynthia Villar, which will formally make Davao City the cacao capital of the Philippines.
Davao City produced 2,289 mt of cacao in 2019, accounting for nearly a quarter of the country’s total production of 8,488.60 mt. The Davao region combined accounted for 78.96% of the total production.
“As a Davaoeño, I am very proud that under your proposed measure, Davao City will be declared as the Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines […] Dahil po iyan sa ating mga masisipag na cacao farmers. Nagpunta rin po si Secretary William Dar kamakailan lang para i-recognize ang Davao City as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines dahil kami ang top producer ng cacao,” said Go.
“Marami na rin pong nakamit na awards ang ating mga cacao producers from Davao mula sa iba’t ibang award-giving bodies sa buong mundo. Highly sought after ng chocolate makers from the United States, Japan and Europe ang ating mga cacao beans. Madame Chair, I am beaming with pride over these accolades by our very own Filipino farmers, nakaka-proud maging Davaoeño at Pilipino,” he continued.
The Senator also gave his support for the passage of SBN 899, a bill introduced by Senator Lito Lapid, which shall create a cacao research and development center.
The center, if created, shall serve as the lead agency for managing the cacao industry.
It will also educate and train local farmers as well as create or strengthen linkages with international organizations and other cacao development centers in other countries.
“Noong mayor pa si Pangulong Duterte ay pumupunta po siya sa bukid para mamigay ng mga—para magtanim rin sila ng cacao. Panahon pa ‘yun ng Department of Agriculture Undersecretary ang ating Secretary of Tourism na si Secretary [Bernadette Romulo-Puyat]. Parati ko na pong naririnig ang cacao industry sa Davao, at full support po ang ating mahal na Pangulo dito,” he added.
Go expressed hope that the proposed measures would help the country’s cacao farmers as well as facilitate the development of the cacao industry.
He encouraged government to take advantage of the rising global demand for cacao, a typically underserved commodity, to make the Philippines one of the top producers of quality cacao in the world.
He also urged the DA to fulfill its promise to produce 100,000 mt of cacao by 2022 which will position the Philippines as a key regional player in the global cacao industry.
On this note, Go expressed his intent to be made a co-author of the bills.