Davao farmer enters top 20 of International Cocoa Awards for Best Cacao Bean

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 31) — Davao-based farmer Jose Saguban has made it to the top 20 for best cacao beans in the world competition of the International Cocoa Awards hosted in Paris France.

This was announced by Auro Chocolate, a local chocolate company that sources its beans from farmers like Saguban.

"When we found out he made it to the Top 50, we were already ecstatic so we decided to bring him to Paris to receive his award in person. But WOW! Little did we know he would make it to the Top 20 best cacao beans in the world," Auro Chocolate said in a Facebook post.

Chairperson of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council Valente Turtur called Saguban an inspiration for small local farmers.

"We will celebrate not only Mr. Saguban but the whole cacao industry in the Philippines. We thank the Cocoa of Excellence Programme for giving us this opportunity to produce the best cacao beans in the same time conserving our environment. The Philippines will push for a biodiverse cacao farming system," Turtur said in a statement by the Cacao of Excellence Programme, which organized the contest along with France's Salon du Chocolat.

The International Cocoa Awards is a yearly international competition that promotes the diversity of cacao around the world.

More than 200 cacao bean samples originating from 55 countries competed in the 2019 competition. Other top contenders include farms from Ghana, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.