Japanese firm to put up choco factory in DavNor

A JAPANESE company will be putting up two chocolate factories in Davao del Norte next year, an official of Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami) said.

In an interview, Cidami Executive Director Val Turtur said the Japanese company is currently negotiating with both Cidami and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regarding the establishment of the two chocolate factories to legally process the needed requirements.

The chocolate factories are seen to be put up in Panabo City and Tagum City, Davao del Norte to boost the economic productivity of these areas as part of the special economic zones in the country.

"In our conversation with the owner of the Japanese company, they have decided to build factories here in the region as it costs a lot to extract and process the raw chocolates here and then ship it to Japan," Turtur said.

He added that the chocolates that will be processed in the factories will be in high-quality for export production, mainly to Europe and United States of America.

The cacao farmers, who will supply cacao beans for the factories, will be sourced among the ten cacao farmers cooperatives that are currently under Cidami. Most of these cooperatives are situated in Paquibato District and Calinan, Davao City.

"This will also increase job opportunities and increase the demand for our cacao beans," he said.

Davao region has the biggest land area for cacao with 26,000 hectares wherein its 16,000 hectares are in full production while the remaining are still being developed.

Turtor said Cidami and Department of Agriculture (DA) are closely working on expanding the production of cacao beans in the country from 50,000 metric tons per year to 100,000 metric tons by year 2022.

"Starting next year we are working on expanding our production for 40 percent until we can produce 100,000 metric tons a year," he said.

This expansion for cacao production will also need 50 million additional cacao beans to be scattered around the country where cacaos can grow healthy.

At present, Turtor said Cidami and DA are assessing the probability to expand cacao production in Samar, Leyte as it has shown in their recent visit that there is a portion of its land that is suitable for growing cacao beans.