Situated along the Cacao Belt, Cebu is endowed with land and climate suitable for growing cacao trees. As a high-value crop, cacao offers a lot of opportunity for investors. Cacao is not only known to be a good inter-crop for coconut and banana (with only 2-week harvest interval), it also has a unique characteristic of having a short gestation period of only 18 months.
Several intermediate products can be derived from cacao beans such as cocoa nibs, cocoa liquor (tablea), cocoa cake, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate confectionary blocks. Moreover, cocoa is regarded to have an uptrend global demand for two reasons. First, cocoa is the ultimate ingredient for chocolate production and offers no substitute. Second, is the increasing popularity of cocoa for pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. In terms of numbers, global demand for cocoa is expected to increase by almost 3% from 4.959 million tonnes during 2020/21 to 5.086 million tonnes for 2021/22.1
In the 4th quarter of 2021, Central Visayas was able to produce a total 37.07 metric tons of cacao. Due to the endless global demand for cacao, Cebu is fast becoming a home to small-scale cacao producers scattered around Cebu. Some of these areas include the municipalities and cities of Pinamunggahan, Toledo, Tuburan, Carcar, and various mountain barangays in Cebu City. To optimize the potential of the cacao industry in Cebu, the Philippine Inno-Ventures Agriculture Cooperative (PIVAC) is pushing for the propagation and planting of cacao in various farm lands across Cebu through cultivation of seedlings and knowledge sharing at the grassroot level.
PIVAC, alongside with the government agencies such as the DTI, DA, DOST, DENR, and local government units are forming a convergence of plans and programs to bridge the gap between the existing demand and supply of cacao to maximize the potential of cacao as a high-value crop. This convergence and collaboration with relevant agencies are designed to ensure that the farmers are empowered with the right set of skills and equipment to produce high quality cacao beans. To date, PIVAC farmers are starting to cultivate their land for cacao production and intend to supply the local cocoa producers in Cebu, and eventually leverage on the strategic location of Cebu and trade across all regions and even reach the foreign market as well. In the long run, the network of cacao producers in Cebu intend to maximize its economies of scale and explore the opportunity of investing in post-harvest facilities roasting and grinding facilities.
Overall, the collective goal of PIVAC farmers is to create a sustainable supply chain of cacao production and deliver high quality cocoa products, made in Cebu. Likewise the group aspires to be recognized as one of the leading export products of Cebu. As of today, due to the rising number of cacao farms, Cebu’s thriving cocoa products are also starting to gain global popularity.