DA-PRDP Holds First Mindanao Online CAFÉ
Cacao stakeholders from Davao and from other regions in Mindanao attended DA-PRDP’s first run of the Mindanao Online C.A.F.É via WebEx meeting yesterday, February 4, 2021.
The Mindanao Online CAFÉ or “Convergence for Agribusiness and Farmers Enterprise” is DA-PRDP’s way of providing a venue for the stakeholders of various priority commodities in Mindanao to share and exchange knowledge, and establish linkages between farmers, traders, and other private institutions. Following Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s official declaration making Davao Region as the chocolate capital of the Philippines last September 7, cacao was chosen as the pilot commodity for the online forum.
MS3 Agriventures CEO Neil Santillan and Production Manager Yasin Ampatuan talked about the opportunities for cacao producers in Halal certification sharing insights from their experience having been recognized globally for their cacao products. Santillan who is already based in Qatar, said that because of the quality of cacao beans coming from Mindanao, the potential for growth in the Middle East market is high for locally produced beans.
Representatives the from cacao cooperatives in Davao such as Maragusan Multi-purpose Cooperative (MAMPCO), Kapalong Cooperative, Rehoboth Agriculture Cooperative (RACO), Subastat Integrated Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative (SIFMPC), Biao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (BARBCO), Tawan-Tawan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, UNICARBAI Multipurpose Cooperative (UMPC), NAGMASID Agrarian Reform Cooperative as well as cooperatives from Region 9, 10 and 12 took part in the open forum and discussion led by the guest speakers from MS3 Agriventures.
MS3 Agriventures was a recipient of several international awards such as Great Taste Awards- 2019 (75% Dark Chocolate/Nutri Nibs) in United Kingdom; SIAL Innovations Awards 2019 (75% Dark Chocolate with Coco Sugar) in SIAL Middle East, Abu Dhabi- UAE; Silver Awards 2019 (Drinking Chocolate-Drinking Chocolate Flavored) Academy of Chocolate Awards in United Kingdom; Bronze Award 2019 (Chocolate Bars-Bean to Bar Flavored/ Drinking Chocolate- plain for water emulsion) Academy of Chocolate AWards UK; Bronze Award 2018 (Drinking Chocolate- plain for water emulsion) UK; Philippine Cacao Tablet Producer 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In his speech, DA XI Regional Executive Director and Deputy Director of PRDP’s Project Support Office Mindanao, Engr. Ricardo Onate said that one of the goals of yesterday’s online forum was to help boost the cacao industry not only in Davao but throughout Mindanao with the aim of making the Philippines a major player in the global market for cacao. He added that while this was no small task, by coming together in this way, Mindanao cacao producers are taking the first steps towards making that goal a reality.
PSO Mindanao I-REAP unit head Ronnie Yulo said that the activity launch was just the first of many meetings for the Mindanao Online CAFÉ with plans to invite other resource speakers from both the private and government sectors down the line to share their industry knowledge with invited farmers and producers. He hopes that the positive response to this first online convergence activity will extend beyond cacao to other priority commodities in Mindanao. (Joseph John Palarca | PSO Mindanao)