DAVAO CITY – A local chocolate maker and cacao producer is aiming for bigger production next year to cope with increasing clients, not only in Davao but also abroad.

Neil Q. Santillan, MS3 Agri Ventures managing director, said Tuesday that aside from their farm produce they also buy wet beans from farmers to augment their needs.

MS3 Agri Ventures was put up by overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) to engage in cacao production on a 1.3-hectare farm. The company recently ventured into Halal chocolate-making.

Santillan said they plan to acquire more equipment next year to help improve their packaging, production, and market access.

Currently, MS3 Agri Ventures produces 7,000 bars of chocolate every month.

He said they also want to get more OFWs -- about 80 -- as partners. The company has already added 50 pledged partnerships, which means additional funding of PHP16 million at PHP200,000 per slot.

Santillan said the money will be used for the acquisition of equipment and other machinery, as well as operate their 120-hectare joint venture farm in Nueva Ecija.

MS3 Agri-Ventures Corp. produces seven products with five variances of chocolate from dark choco of 65 percent and 75 percent, the Bonchoc, BrainChoc, Pilichoc, and the tablea.

Santillan said that aside from the variance, the products come in different sizes to suit the needs of the customers, as well as affordability.

Aside from the chocolate bars, the company also produces choco tea out of the husks of beans and choco vinegar, which they collect during fermentation.

The company was recognized in Malaysia's 2017 Halal Brand Award as the Best Philippine Cacao Producer.

In the same year, the company was awarded Bronze Medal for their tablea product in the UK's Academy of Chocolate from among 1,200 entries from 45 countries.

"But we are not putting our guards down with those awards; instead we need to make our products become better in order to attain high-quality standards," Santillan said. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)