USM Hosts National Training of Trainers on Cacao Fermentation, Drying and Bean Grading

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The University of Southern Mindanao is hosting a Training of Trainers on Cacao Fermentation, Drying and Bean Grading sponsored by the Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC) and Philippine Cacao Industry Association (PCIA) in collaboration with the University of Southern Mindanao, Agriculture Training Institute (ATI), High Value Crops-Bureau of Plant Industry, Industry Cluster Enhancement and Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, Natural Resources and Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) thru the NICER Cacao R and D Center. The training is being conducted at the Agriculture Training Institute on February 1-10, 2023, with Dr. Edward A. Barlaan, USM Professor Emeritus as the overall coordinator.

The invited resource speaker is Steven DeVries, an international cacao postharvest expert and renowned fine chocolate maker of the United States. The training shall teach food technologists and scientists from State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) across the country the principles and practical aspects of cacao fermentation, drying, bean grading and sensory evaluation. The program will also provide hands-on demonstrations and practical exercises to enhance the participants’ understanding and skills. The training shall ensure that strategies are science-based, starting with SUCs with strong agriculture programs which are already engaged or are willing to engage in cacao production. The ToT program is in response to the recommendations made at the National Cacao Congress 2022 and the PCIC/PCIA strategic planning.

The training is attended by participants having MS or PhD degrees in Food Technology or Food Sciences from over 22 universities all over Philippines. The PCIC and PCIA board of trustees and council members as well as partners from various government agencies are also present during the training.

Participants are expected to conduct extension work by training cacao farmers in their respective regions after the program, thereby increasing the value of the cacao beans. The training is anticipated to support the development of regional cacao nurseries and model farms, improve the livelihoods of cacao farmers, and promote the growth of the Philippine cacao industry.