|More than 850 cacao growers, processors, suppliers and other stakeholders listen to resource speakers related to the potential of Cacao as a high value product. The two day Luzon Cacao Link event was held on Nov. 16-17, 2017 at the Kingsborough Convention Center, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.|
The Regional Cacao Industry Council (RCIC) in Central Luzon, chaired by the Kapampangan Development Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with the various RCICs in the entire Luzon Island, recently hosted the 2017 Island Luzon Cacao Link at the Kingsborough Convention Center in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga on November 16-17, 2017. The first ever Luzon-wide Cacao event to be held in Region 3, the event gathered around 850 cacao growers, processors, input suppliers and other public and private sector stakeholders including the chambers of commerce in the different regions.
This year’s Luzon Cacao Link was opened by the City Mayor of San Fernando, Pampanga Edwin D. Santiago who delivered the welcome remarks, followed by a message delivered by Board Member Rosve Henson of the Provincial Government of Pampanga. Undersecretary Evelyn G. Laviña also gave an inspirational message while the Keynote Speaker, Senator Cynthia Villar, was ably represented by her Chief of Staff Attorney Rhaegee Tamaña.
The 2-day event had two (2) parts – the Technical aspect and Production aspect where lectures on nursery establishment and cacao farm management were the primary lectures. Market Opportunities in cacao as experienced by well-known companies engaged in tablea, cocoa and chocolates were also shared during the forum.
The organizers of the event noted the big number of participants who came from the different parts of Luzon. The event, themed “Cacao is Gold,” manifested strong interest despite the distance they travelled to get to the Luzon Cacao Link event.
The Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC) is led by its President Valente Turtur. For him, the 2017 Cacao Link is an avenue to inspire participants to venture into cacao, either cacao growing or processing. The event also provided relevant learnings on the technical and production aspects of growing Cacao. It also gave opportunity to enhance the knowledge of growers on proper farm management techniques. The resource speakers also shared about proper technology on use of fertilizers. The information shared by well-known companies producing quality chocolates and tablea were awe-inspiring for participants. Companies present in the lectures include Malagos Agri Ventures, a firm owned by Rex Puentespina and the Philippines’ first company to be awarded by the prestigious Salon de Chocolat with the Cacao Excellence Award. Kelly Go of Filipinas Oro de Cacao and Didier Ladriere of DLA, a company producing bakery ingredients in Subic, Zambales made everyone appreciate even more cacao as a viable business venture.
Provincial Director Edna Dizon of DTI Aurora, one of the organizers of the event, noted that the 2017 Island Luzon Cacao Link has become a very significant tool to encourage farmers and would-be processors to go into cacao. The Philippine Cacao Industry hopes to develop the Philippine Brand for Cacao chocolate and be a player in the global chocolate market. The PCIC’s ultimate aim is for inclusive agri-business development to achieve government’s goal on INCLUSIVE GROWTH.
The 2-day event was organized with the full support of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) National Cacao Industry Cluster headed by ARD Edwin Banquerigo of DTI Region XI and all Island Luzon RCICs led by Region 3.♦