Chocolate On The Road: The Philippines Part 2

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“I nearly give up… Because you are dealing with farmers who have been engaging in this behavior for 40 or 50 years, it is really challenging. It is quite hard to alter their mentality “overnight.”

-Val Turtur, President of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc.

This is the next chapter in the tale of cacao and chocolate culture in the Philippines, or more accurately, the absence of such a culture. See: tableya. In the second part of this series, we get an inside look at some of the real-life struggles that cacao farmers and chocolate makers in the Philippines go through on a daily basis. We will investigate the reasons why regional culture may contribute to the growth of an enterprise as well as hinder it.

This episode features interviews with three people who are involved in the chocolate industry but at very different levels: a farmer, a chocolate maker, and an educator. Before digging into this week’s episode, you should make sure you have listened to the Philippines Part 1 first. It gives you a background on the history, consumption, and development of the Philippine market, laying the groundwork for you to comprehend the reasons why there is going to be a lot more cacao produced in the Philippines available for purchase on the market.

To read the article version of this episode, click here.

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Topics We Cover

  • the efforts made by CIDAMI to communicate with and educate farmers throughout the Philippines, so encouraging those farmers to form their own structure, in part with the assistance of the government.
  • In the Philippines, cacao producers and fermenters face challenges in the form of barriers ranging from culture to weather to geography.
  • based on a real account of a cocoa farmer who spread his passion for the product all over the Philippines
  • What are some of the distinguishing features that set the Philippine cocoa industry and market apart from those of other Asian markets?

Show Timeline

0:00-3:40~ Episode introduction, including a look at the basic changes in the Philippine cacao market in recent years. (Val Turtur)

3:40-10:50~ How Auro has been working with farmers to improve bean quality, and the obstacles they’ve run into over the company’s development. (Louie Cena)

10:50-13:30~ How & where CIDAMI is educating farmers about cacao farming, and what resources they’re able to provide. (Val Turtur)

13:30-24:30~ Grover Rosit shares his story of becoming a cacao farmer, and then an “agripreneur” and cacao educator.

24:30-31:30~ The Philippine government’s role in spreading cacao farming across the country, historically, currently, and in the future, and the direction in which the industry is headed. (Val Turtur)

31:30-35:42~ The shift towards younger farmers and businesses in the Philippine cacao industry, and the motivations behind them (Louie Cena). Also, the end of the episode.

More About Our Guests

Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. President Val Turtur also serves as Chairperson of the Philippine Cacao Council. CIDAMI stands for “the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc.” Check out CIDAMI’s Facebook page if you haven’t already.

Auro Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate company that collaborates with farmers in the Philippines, and Louie Cena is the Manager of Davao City Operations for the company. Check out Auro’s Website, as well as his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Grover Rosit is the proprietor of Rosit Cacao Farms, which has its headquarters in Davao City in the Philippines. Visit Grover’s Facebook page for additional details on his farm and upcoming seminars, and don’t forget to like his page!

Further Reading

  • The schedule for Grover’s seminars may be found on his Facebook page.
  • The Grover Account from the BBC
  • The government intends to increase the amount of cacao that is produced.
  • Cacao Culture Farms, owned and operated by Ken and Sheila,
  • This is the fifth episode of the program, and Eyeth and Nhel will be talking about making chocolate from tree to bar.