By Kate Bondoc / Office of the Undersecretary Trade and Investments Promotion Group

28 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Department of Trade and Industry’s Trade and Investments Promotion Group (DTI-TIPG) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Tokyo (PTIC-Tokyo) shared promising developments for Philippine cacao beans as it enters the mainstream Japanese market through the newly produced chocolate made by Isetan Mitsukoshi.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Group, Japan’s largest department store group, developed a new chocolate brand named Nayuta Chocolatasia. The product formulated to match the Asian palate, is made from cacao beans sourced from four Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Philippine cacao beans were sourced from a Davao-based plantation, Philippines’s Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao Producers Association.

As part of Isetan Mitsukoshi’s strong campaign for the chocolate, they are currently running a six-month promotional campaign through a chocolate fair called “Salon du Chocolat” at their Shinjuku store.

“The presence of Philippine cacao beans in the mainstream Japanese market is a clear manifestation that our produce are truly world class. With sufficient support and aggressive marketing strategies being implemented by various private- and public-sector partners, we hope more and more Philippine goods will join the global market,” DTI-TIPG Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture said the global demand for cocoa is estimated to reach between 4.7 million metric tons (MMT) and 5 MMT by 2020. However, it is also predicted to reach a global shortage at 1 MMT in the same year.

“We see a lot of budding local manufacturers and producers of cacao in the country. We, at DTI, continue to urge them to join trade fairs and avail [themselves] support services that help them in accessing not just domestic but as well as international markets, such as Japan. In this way, we will be able to mainstream Philippine produce while we continue to build the country’s brand globally,” Terrado added.

She also urged producers to tap the DTI and its wide range of support services with its PTICs abroad.

“The DTI assists Philippine companies, especially micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, in getting a glimpse of emerging trends and slowly test and introduce the acceptability of their products in the international market,” Terrado added.

Current efforts and initiatives in developing the Philippine cacao industry are mostly focused in Mindanao, which accounts for 90 percent of the Philippine cacao production, with 80 percent coming from the Davao region alone.

The DTI, through its  shared  service  facilities program, has provided 16 cacao-processing facilities to  various regions that aim to equip and accelerate MSMEs’ competitiveness by giving them access to energy-efficient technologies and sophisticated equipment in their production.