SUPPORT LOCAL. Davao Regional Cacao Industry Council chair Toto Muyco says in a press conference Wednesday (July 6, 2022) that they will organize a three-day Chocolate Fair on July 7-9 in Davao City. Cacao entrepreneurs in the city are eyeing to build local patronage for their products as most of their sales are generated by tourists and consumers from other cities. (PNA photo by Christine Cudis)

DAVAO CITY – The Davao Regional Cacao Industry Council (DRCIC) is eyeing to increase local patronage for cacao byproducts, noting that Dabawenyos only make up 30 percent of their average monthly sales.

“In Cacao City, only 30 percent of consumers are Dabawenyos. It is the tourists who generate the biggest portions of our sales,” said Toto Muyco, the DRCIC chair, during a press briefing here Wednesday.

Cacao City is a one-stop-shop for cacao byproducts located near the Davao City Investment Promotions Center here. It is formed by cacao entrepreneurs in the region with support from the government.

Muyco said the group is also keen on establishing pop-up stalls and “tsokolate” shops in the future to capture the younger market.

To increase consumption of “tsokolate,” the council announced it will distribute free treats to Dabawenyos who will join their three-day Chocolate Fair starting July 7, coinciding with the World Chocolate Day, in Abreeza Ayala Mall here.

Wit Holganza, the event organizer, pointed out that many Dabawenyos prefer fast-food chocolates as they assume that those made from local cacao beans are more expensive.

“In the event, we will offer cacao products that offer an indulgent experience. Also, these products are healthy and recommended for mood-boosting which we all need at this time of the pandemic,” Holganza said.

Over a dozen exhibitors are expected to display their products during the fair.

The exhibitors, Holganza said, have been recipients of various global recognition for their quality and taste.

“Our local beans varieties making it to the world competition for Top 50 best cacao beans in recent years has resulted in making the Philippines world-renowned and is increasingly sought after by chocolate makers,” she said.

This city has been recognized as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines and the entire Davao Region as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines through the Republic Act 115471.

The DRCIC said the recognition is a testament to the contribution of the cacao sector as a key driver of rural development. (PNA)