By Jim Lloyd Dongiapon

The National Cacao Congress will commence its first in-person conference since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic tomorrow, November 24, at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City, and it will last until Friday, November 25.

It is organized by the Philippine Cacao Industry Association (PCIA),  Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Cacao farmers and industry players from all over the country will have an opportunity to seek support from other stakeholders, to assess the supply and demand of Philippine cacao in different markets, and to to discuss and enhance their strategies in the flourishing cacao industry.

The exhibition is also aimed at strengthening the position of Davao City as the Chocolate Capital and the entire Davao Region as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines, as declared by Republic Act 11547 of 2021, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Charita Puentespina, founder of Puentespina Farms and Malagos Chocolates and a PCIA trustee, revealed on November 7 that 70 exhibitors and around 1,800 participants are expected to take part in the event. 

Meanwhile, Delia Ayano, assistant regional director of DTI-Davao, shared that the theme of this year’s congress is “Cacao is Gold,” as it suggests “profitable” opportunities for those engaged in the cacao industry.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Vice President “Inday” Sara Duterte, Davao City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, PCIC Chairperson Armi Lopez-Garcia, and Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, are expected to give their speeches during the event.

On the other hand, the six (6) winners of the Philippine Cacao Quality Awards (PCQA) 2022, held on October 25–28, 2022, in Butuan City, will be announced during the event. They will also represent the country at the International Cocoa Awards at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France, next year. 

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