Belgian company signs agreement with Kennemer to promote cacao sustainability in Davao Oriental

BAKED GOODS on display during the Cacao Fiesta held at the Puratos-Kennemer Cacao Trace Center in Mati City on Oct. 20. — DAVAO ORIENTAL PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

BELGIUM’s Puratos Group, through its Philippine subsidiary, has partnered with Kennemer Foods International, Inc. to expand and ensure the sustainability of Davao Oriental’s cacao industry.

“Puratos is a Belgian company that is into buying cacao and sustainable agriculture. Puratos wants to ensure that cacao cultivation is ecological and will go on from generation to generation,” Belgian Ambassador to the Philippines Michel Parys said in an interview last week as he attended Davao Oriental’s Cacao Fiesta. 

The company, he added, aims to make sure that “farmers will get sufficient income from cacao.”

Puratos Philippines, Inc. sells bakery, patisserie, and chocolate products as well as provides seminars to businesses nationwide on baking trends and innovations.

It has set up a Cacao Trace Center, together with Kennemer, in Davao Oriental’s capital, Mati City, as part of its sustainable cocoa sourcing program that aims to ensure high quality goods and high income for growers.

“Cacao beans need to be fermented and processed for the taste to come out. After the fermentation, the cacao beans are exported. When a consumer buys the chocolates they know where it’s coming from,” Mr. Parys said.

Kennemer manages its own farms and has a contract growing program in various parts of Mindanao. In Davao Oriental, it is engaged with about 4,000 cacao farmers.

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, said agriculture will continue to be a priority sector for development while the provincial government pursues policies on ease of doing business to attract more investors. 

“We have what it takes to succeed in agriculture,” Ms. Malanyaon said at the event.

Mr. Parys said another Belgian firm, green-technology developer Turbulent, is planning to set up small turbines in Cateel for energy generation.

“Turbulent is looking at Cateel… putting into the river small turbines that will generate electricity without the need for a big dam because when you put a big dam you are causing trouble to the environment,” he said.

The governor has said that the provincial government is pursuing partnerships to speed up electrification in remote communities. — Maya M. Padillo