Cacao is an important crop around the world.
In the Philippines however, local cacao production is not enough to meet local demand. As a result, local prices, as in the world market, are continually on the rise.
Locally, very few have ventured into large-scale cacao production, leaving local manufacturers of chocolate almost entirely reliant on imported cacao beans. If cacao can be grown more extensively, the country will save millions of dollars in foreign exchange.
Research shows that large-scale cacao production through intercropping with coconut is feasible. Farmers used to shy away from this practice because of the belief that the pod rot disease of cacao is caused by the same fungus that causes bud rot in coconut. Experience and laboratory experiments have disproved such beliefs.
Cacao beans have many uses. From its raw form, the beans are processed into cacao, either sweetened or unsweetened. They are also processed into liquor, butter, cake powder, paste, chocolate bars, candies, and confectioneries. Cacao serves as flavoring for pastries and ice cream and as raw material in the preparation of cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.