Cocoa industry boom to spur Philippines farm tourism
(The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ fast-growing cacao and chocolate industry will boost a promising farm tourism industry that caters to foreign 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 Sen. Cynthia Villar in her keynote address to over 2,000 cacao growers and entrepreneurs during the Kakao Konek 2017 exposition held at SMX Lanang in Davao City.

Villar authored Republic Act 10816 or Farm Tourism Development Act, which mandates the promotion of tourism at agricultural destinations through partnership with private stakeholders.

Davao City boasts of vast greenery, including nature park and farm resorts, like the Malagos Resort, Eden’s Nature Park, Hijo Banana Resort, Gumamela Caverock Farm Resort, Pearl Farm, among others.

During the two-day conference and exhibit, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte and officials of the Department of Tourism  led the launch 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 to meet 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.

David noted that the Malagos Puentespina chocolates, produced in a self-sustained 12-hectare cocoa farm resort in Malagos, Davao City, was among the top 50 awardees of the Salon de Chocolat held in Paris recently.

“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 during the conference was Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who lauded the best practices of Davao’s successful cacao growers and chocolate producers.

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