Albay town eyes cacao factory as tourist drawer in Bicol Region
By Connie Calipay
LEGAZPI CITY --- The local government unit (LGU) of Camalig in Albay province sees the cultivation and production of cacao as an emerging economic development and tourism booster that gives vast opportunities to local farmers.
In an interview on Wednesday, Tim Florece, Camalig public information office chief, said the LGU through its Municipal Tourism and Cultural Heritage Office (MTCHO), wants to include Muravah Foundation’s cacao fermentation facility and farm factory in Barangay Sua in its itinerary and tour package for international visits and educational tours.
He said the facility and factory can showcase its product -- premium dark chocolate branded as Mayon Gold Chocolate -- including its fermentation process as part of the local government’s thrust for comprehensive tourism promotion.
PREMIUM DARK CHOCOLATE. Local workers of the Muravah Foundation’s Cacao fermentation facility and farm factory in Camalig, Albay extract cacao pods as raw materials in making premium dark chocolate. The local government eyes the facility’s inclusion in its tour package for international visitors and educational tours. (Photo courtesy of Tim Florece/Camalig PIO)
PRODUCED | Innovative locally crafted chocolates from cacao product in cacao fermentation facility and farm factory of Muravah Foundation at Brgy. Sua, Camalig, Albay. (Photo courtesy of: Camalig PIO)
Florece said Mayor Carlos Irwin G. Baldo Jr. visited the Muravah Foundation on Tuesday and noted that it uplifts the farming communities, specifically the cacao growers surrounding Mt. Mayon as well as those from other areas in Albay who are in search of economic opportunities.
“This is another opportunity for our cacao farmers. Currently, the foundation is working with 500 local farmers, particularly from Camalig and the neighboring town-Guinobatan. The foundation increases farmers’ income by four times by employing their cacao products in the manufacturing process. Aside from the cacao on the farm, they also buy the cacao products of our farmers and it helps for their sustainable income,” he said.
Florece added the Camalig LGU through its Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office has come up with strategies to ensure the highest possible value and quality of products before they take them into the big market.
“As part of the renewed objective of Mayor Baldo, he wants sustainability of our agricultural products and to be recognized in the mainstream or bigger market. With their vision to ‘Act Local, Think Global’, Mayon Gold Chocolate produces food innovations using craft chocolate made from cacao pods. It is also important that generally, the purpose of the company is not just to gain income but to take farmers permanently out of the poverty line,” he said.
The fermentation facility and farm factory are situated in a 26,253-square meter area while the chocolate laboratory and office building are on an adjacent 80-square meter lot. (PNA)