Carlos Barsicula, manager of Chocolate de San Isidro (CSI) shows the organization’s Cacao drier. (Fides Avellanosa/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Known to have the biggest chunk of cacao production in the country, Davao region naturally boast of active cacao stakeholders, some of whom gathered in a Cacao Learning Exchange in Davao City.

Facilitated by the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) that has been at the forefront in supporting social enterprises in the country, the event opened innovations for the cacao enthusiasts.

Over 30 participants from 15 organizations and cooperatives in Davao region came for the two-day activity that culminated with a visit to the Chocolate de San Isidro (CSI), a cooperative in Davao del Norte that has the biggest number of cacao farmer members in Davao.

“We should be ‘risk-takers’, said Lolita Pinoon, one of the participants and general manager of the Rehoboth Agriculture Cooperative, pointing out that the challenges being faced by cacao planters are worth taking for the benefit they could gain.

The participants listened and learned among storytellers in cacao farming and production that discussed among others best agricultural practices adopted by successful cacao entrepreneurs; the problems being faced by the farmers and how cacao farmers can improve the quality of cacao; and strategies that can make a demo farm work.

The event was capped with a visit to the cacao farms and production area of CSI where the visitors were not only treated to steaming hot delicious ‘Sikwate’ but were also shown the cacao hills bearing bountiful fruits.

PEF fosters conversations and learning about a variety of topics of interest to stakeholders and partners in building development models that work. (

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