DUMAGUETE CITY – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) sees Siquijor as another province producing high-quality chocolates.
Engineer Mario dela Peña, DOST-Siquijor provincial director, told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday that the department is assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the island province to embark on chocolate making as a new or added source of income.
“We just learned that we can find the Creole cacao in Siquijor, whose beans or seeds are of higher quality," dela Peña said.
"You cannot just find this anywhere, and somebody who grows this variety has offered to provide seedlings,” he said.
Dela Peña said this is a new venture being undertaken by the agency to encourage existing MSMEs in Siquijor to branch out to chocolate making.
Sixteen MSMEs completed chocolate-making training on Monday and Tuesday conducted by Vina Antopina, a Belgium-trained chocolatier and currently the DOST provincial director of Bohol, dela Peña said.
Training participants included “tablea” or chocolate drink processors and those engaged in the cakes and pastry business, he added.
It was also during the training when the name Siqcolate was coined as an initial brand for the Siquijor chocolate candy bar.
To sustain the project, the DOST has also identified at least three cacao farmers in Siquijor who will be provided with assistance in terms of production through the Comprehensive Agricultural Productivity Extension Program that will ensure continuous supply of quality cacao for the chocolate makers.
The DOST was hopeful to purchase some equipment for these small-scale entrepreneurs who have signified their interest in expanding their business into chocolate making, dela Peña said. (PNA)