Members of the Regional Cacao Industry Development Council (RCIDC) – Region 2, led by Mr. Noli Garcia, Co-Chair of the RCIDC joined the KakaoKonek 2018 held on October 18-19, 2018 at the Davao Trade and Convention Center in Davao City. Region 2 is among the regions actively involved in the promotion and development of Cacao Industry in the Philippines.

Prior to the event, Regional Cacao Coordinators convened to discuss their major accomplishments. Ms. Ragel D. Tacazon, TIDS of DTI-R02 and Region 02’s cacao focal person, presented the region’s accomplishments among which were the launching of 12 local cacao brands, formation of Provincial Cacao Councils, establishment of a budwood garden in San Agustin, Isabela and a nursery in Lasam, Cagayan, and the dispersal of 165,000 grafted cacao seedlings in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.

The event was graced by Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson of the Senate’s Food and Agriculture Committee, as Keynote Speaker. In her message, Senator Villar shared her long-time advocacy to promote intercropping of cacao with coconut to benefit marginal communities in both sectors. Other guests include Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, DTI-ROG, Mr. Basilio Adlawan, Jr., Event Chairman/Vice President, CIDAMI, and Undersecretary Evelyn Lavinia, DA-HVC.

Plenary discussions were also held which tackled topics on agronomy in cacao production, post-harvest processing, bean grading and flavor profiling. Among the international speakers were Chang Yong Kim, Managing Director of Bonaterra Cacao Malaysia and Mr. Albert Lauber, owner of Neuchatel fine Swiss Chocolate.

One of the highlights of the event is the awarding of cacao farmers producing high-quality cacao beans. Mr. Noli Garcia from Lasam, Cagayan, owner of NP Garcia Integrated Cacao Farm, and HJ Guieb Farm and Services from San Agustin, Isabela received a commendation for participating in the competition.

This year’s KakaoKonek Product Exhibit featured local artisan chocolates, cacao-based cosmetic products, cacao by products and souvenir items, chocolate processing equipment and farm tool. There were also market matching and networking activities with big chocolate companies in the country. Ms. Tacazon was able to book a training for cacao MSMEs in the region for next year and opened a possible market venture for NP Garcia as bean supplier to Auro Chocolates.