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Development Fund
July 12, 2007

P950-T fund for Davao Norte's chocolate industry
San Isidro, Davao del Norte, tagged as the “Chocolate Hub of the Davao Region”, got a boost from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with the grant of 950,000-peso funding assistance.

DTI Davao said “tablea”, the local name of cocoa tablets is the identified One Town One Product (OTOP) commodity in San Isidro, about 100 kilometers away from Davao City.

Of the said financial assistance, P800,000 came from the Japanese grant Kennedy Round 2 (KR2) under NEDA 11’s Productivity Enhancement Program, while the P150,000 was the counterpart fund of DTI Davao.

About 110 cacao farmers will benefit from the funding aid.

San Isidro Mayor Tomas Abelita urged his constituents to support the project in order to further develop the home-grown chocolate industry.

The financial assistance will fund the project's components that include institutional development, productivity enhancement, facilitation of technology and product development, investment facilitation, and market promotion.

Prior to the provision of the financial assistance, DTI Davao and the San Isidro municipal government have organized the Chocolate de San Isidro Inc. (CSI), consisting of key industry players including cacao farmers’ cooperative, cacao traders, tablea makers, and local entrepreneurs/investors.

CSI Trade Ventures, Inc. will handle the marketing of the product with brand name “Sikwate”, the native name of chocolate beverage.

DTI Davao said CSI is currently supplying volumes of orders to numerous beverages establishments in the country.

“Let’s value cooperativism for us to improve our cacao industry and at the same time, for us to help more members of the Chocolate de San Isidro, Inc. Let’s help each other to sustain and expand this sector,” DTI regional director Merly Cruz said.

For his part, NEDA regional director Nicasio Angelo Agustin said the steadfast support of the San Isidro local government and the beneficiaries of the project are essential to keep the chocolate industry of San Isidro afloat.

Representing the beneficiaries, Bernardino Yatig, chair of the Mabuhay Multi—Purpose Cooperative, thanked NEDA and DTI for the support. PNA

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