The Philippines’ fast-growing cacao and chocolate industry will boost a promising farm tourism campaign that caters to international and local visitors looking for wholesome fun and adventure in the countryside.
“Farm tourism in the country has thrived on the best practices and growth of cocoa industry,” said Senator Cynthia Villar in her keynote address to over 2,000 cacao growers and entrepreneurs across the country, who gathered for the conference and exposition dubbed as “Kakao Konek 2017” at the SMX Lanang in Davao City.
Villar authored Republic Act 10816, titled “Farm Tourism Development Act,” which mandates the promotion of tourism at agricultural destinations through partnership with the private stakeholders.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte welcomed the participants to the two-day event sponsored by 26 agro-industrial firms and 10 government agencies, including the Department of Tourism, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
“I am full of optimism that our micro and macro farmers and entrepreneurs will gain more insights in optimizing their productivity and in giving them an upper hand in the market,” Duterte said.
Davao City and its environs boast of vast greenery, including nature parks and farm resorts, like the Malagos Resort, Eden’s Nature Park, Hijo Banana Resort, Gumamela Caverock Farm Resort, and Pearl Farm, among others.
During the two-day conference and exhibit, Duterte and tourism officials led the launching of the “Chocolate Tour Overload” that featured Davao City as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines.”
“Accounting for 90 percent of the local cacao production, the spotlight is now on Mindanao, with Davao as the country’s chocolate capital, even as the farmers face the challenge of meeting the growing demand for Philippine cacao, indicating international recognition of its quality,” Duterte said.
“We believe in the perfect marriage of farm and tourism as showcased by the sweet success our cocoa growers and chocolate producers, like the Malagos chocolate,” said DOT Assistant Secretary Eden Josephine David, in behalf of Secretary Wanda Teo.
David noted that the Malagos Puentespina Chocolates, produced in a self-sustaining 12-hectare cocoa farm resort in Malagos, Davao City, was among the top 50 awardees of the Salon de Chocolat recently held in Paris.
“The challenge of achieving 100,000 metric tons of cacao by 2020 stays, and this can only be achieved with both private and government sectors working together,” said Dante Muyco, president of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, the event’s main sponsor.
Also present at the conference was Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who lauded the best practices of Davao’s successful cacao growers and chocolate producers.