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More chocolate goods will be produced in Ilocos Norte, according to the IP community.

In Adams, Ilocos Norte, an indigenous peoples (IPs) group wants to expand their existing cacao plantations to grow additional types and produce more chocolate products.

Bielmaju Walley, a doctor and a high-value crop farmer and food processor, said on Thursday that IP producers in the community are targeting the establishment of at least 10 more hectares of cacao plantation as a start-up program to sustain a local chocolate factory.

Adams became the cacao center of Ilocos Norte in the 1980s when various cacao types were introduced.

Walley, who operates a small chocolate factory that makes chocolate bars, tablea, cacao wine, and choco mint drinks, is aiding the municipality’s farmers in their expansion efforts and sharing her knowledge of cacao food processing.

Out of the 18 active cacao producers and processors in the area, Walley estimates that at least ten farmers are willing to expand their plantations.

She noted that many farmers are keen to grow various cacao kinds in order to meet the demand for chocolate and other culinary products.

“With a minimum harvest of 1 ton per hectare, we’ll need at least 10 hectares to sustain our supply,” Walley said, adding that she is currently contacting neighboring cities and provinces to see if they can provide cacao beans for processing.

Creating and promoting locally created chocolates and opening outlets for them only began in September of last year, she added, and growing cacao bean production will provide jobs for the locals.

This is especially true now that the Department of Trade and Industry has recently announced a shared service facility for cacao processing, which is a dream come true for high-value commercial crop growers in the area.

The DTI taught them how to create value-added items in order to boost their revenue.

Additional jobs are projected to be created as a result of the facility, as the association wants to produce and process more cacao food products for the global market.

Non-government organizations such as the Philippine College of Physicians have been visiting Adams every year to plant fruit-bearing trees such as cocoa and bugnay seedlings in support of the local villagers’ livelihood.

The Walley family’s Inuwayan Farm is also being presented as a potential alternate learning facility for interested farmers.

The Agricultural Training Institute is currently reviewing its accreditation procedure.

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