CACAO CHAMPIONS. Cacao farmers Judith Gabasa (right), Policarpo Enricoso, Jr., and Melinda Villaflor (center), all from Davao City, will represent the country at the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France, next year. The three have been adjudged to have the best cacao products during the 2022 Philippine Cacao Quality Awards on Nov. 25, 2022 in Davao City. (Photo courtesy of DA-11)

DAVAO CITY – Three cacao farmers from Davao Region will represent the country in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France, next year.

Cacao farmers Judith Gabasa, Policarpo Enricoso, Jr. and Melinda Villaflor; all from this city, were selected after being adjudged to have the best cacao products during the recently concluded 2022 Philippine Cacao Quality Awards (PCQA).

The three were selected among the 10 cacao farmers in Davao Region as among those having the best quality cocoa yield.

In a statement Monday, Abel James Monteagudo, director of the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11), lauded the efforts of the cacao farmers for producing the best quality cocoa.

“Indeed, there’s opportunity in cacao,” he said, noting that the Salon du Chocolat in Paris is the biggest annual trade fair for the cocoa and chocolate industry worldwide.

Meanwhile, Monteagudo also underscored the importance of PCQA in increasing awareness and promoting education on the cocoa value chain, saying this enhances opportunities.

He also acknowledged the contribution of the local cacao farmers in the recent declaration of Davao City as the "Chocolate and Cacao Capital of the Philippines."

Last year, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law declaring the city of Davao as the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines” and the entire Davao Region (Region 11) as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines.”

Republic Act 115471, signed by Duterte on May 26, 20211 recognizes the importance of cacao as a driver of rural development due to its potential, as a raw material, to increase the country's export earnings tremendously. (PNA)