Lutheran World Relief, in partnership with the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMi), will convene key players in the cocoa industry from the Philippines and across the Asia-Pacific region at KakaoKonek 2016, to be held on Sept. 15-17 at the SMX Davao Convention Center in Davao, Philippines.
The third annual event will bring together farmers, buyers, representatives from the public sector and NGOs for two days of discussion on recent developments, challenges and opportunities in the Philippines cocoa industry. Conference sessions will focus on both micro and macro-level topics, including the increasing global demand and how the Philippines can fill the supply gaps, the path forward with ASEAN integration, farmer access to credit and financing, increasing production quantity and quality, and dealing with the effects of climate change.
The third day of the conference will feature a field tour of cocoa farms and post-harvesting facilities in Calinan that are supported by LWR local partner, CIDAMi.
The conference comes in the midst of government efforts to increase cocoa production in the Philippines through its Cacao 2020 Challenge, which has established an annual goal of 100,000 metric tons of quality cacao beans. The government campaign seeks to help fill an expected supply gap as producers struggle to meet increasing global demand for cocoa, which is expected to rise by 30 percent by 2020.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that as demand grows for fine chocolate, fed by consumers in China and India with more disposable income for luxury goods, cocoa production globally is down, including a steep slide last year in Ghana, the second-largest cocoa-growing country. Experts predict that this demand for chocolate will accelerate in the coming years. The deficit between chocolate supply and demand is expected to reach 1 million metric tons by 2020.
The Philippines government recognizes that this gap presents a huge opportunity for its producers, and it is working to boost production. About 90 percent of the total cacao production in the Philippines comes from Mindanao, with 80 percent coming from the Davao region. The Philippines Department of Agriculture and the Mindanao Development Authority are working collaboratively to meet the Cacao 2020 Challenge and have an action plan that will double the land set aside for cacao planting.
LWR is working with small-scale cacao farmers in the Philippines, Indonesia and Latin America to help them take advantage of this growing market. We’re helping farmers with both technical assistance and market access, while encouraging farmers to diversify their sources of income to protect themselves against shocks posed by volatile market and climactic conditions. In addition to convening and participating in regional forums on cacao production like KakaoKonek, LWR is playing an active role in helping the emerging “specialty cocoa” industry develop universal standards for sensory evaluation, as a member of the industry’s working group focused on this effort.
About Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas. For more information, visit lwr.org.