Atbang Farm’s tablea is named one of the Philippines’ top five tablea drink during the recently concluded KakaoKonek 2019, the biggest annual event of cacao farmers and chocolatiers in the country. A total of 38 entries from all over the country participated the first ever National Tablea Drink Contest and had their tablea chocolate drink entries subjected to taste tests by more than 30 jurors from all regions of the country, following specific set of rules and guidelines set by the event organizers.

The conference, dubbed as “Filipinas Tablea and Chocolate Expo and Cacao Conference” was held last October 17 – 18, 2019 in Davao City, and was organized by the Philippine Cacao Industry Development Council (PCIDC) in partnership with the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI). More than a thousand attendees from the 14 regions in the country attended the event which was held at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang.

This year, 12 Women Micro Entrepeneurs (WMEs) participated in this 2-day activity allowing them to network and appreciate innovations and development directions for the cacao industry in the country. Their participation was made possible with support from the Provincial Government, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture through the Great Women Project 2.

One of the highlights of KakaoKonek 2019 was the awarding of the Top 5 Philippine National Tablea Drink. Months back, the province of Bohol through the prodding of the Department of Trade and Industry together with the Bohol Cacao Development Council sent 5 entries to the said contest to include the following firms: Atbang Farm of Ms. Efrenia Holt, Calape, Bohol, Balai Cacao Enterprises of Ms. Marie Frances Macabenta, Manga District, Tagbilaran City, Audrey’s Bakery of Ms. Audree Arellano, Panglao, Bohol, Canjulao League of Women, Jagna, Bohol and Aurora’s Tablea of Ms. Gina Solis, Loay, Bohol.

Miss Efrenia Holt, owner of Atbang Farm shared her farm journey, whichstarted when she planted cacao trees in 2011 at her farm in Calape, Bohol. However, these cacao trees were almost wiped out during BagyongSenyang and were also affected by the 2013 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol. These and many other challenges allowed her to continue her passion on farming and having seen the market demand for dried and/or fermented cacao beans, she took it as another business model and opportunity for community based livelihood endeavors. Atbang Farm Molded Tablea has been developed and is now being marketed in malls and in select Hotels and Resorts in Panglao and in Tagbilaran City.

Atbang Farm is one of the twenty five (25) WMEs enrolled with the Great Women Project 2 – a Government of Canada funded project on “Supporting Women Economic Empowerment in the Philippines.” This project in Bohol is organized and managed by the local Department of Trade and Industry. A number of technical support and extension services are being provided to the project enrollees to include among others, technology replication through skills trainings, enterprise management trainings, marketing support, product development, packaging and label development, networking and resource mobilization, raw material sourcing, FDA LTO and CPR registration to name a few. These extension services are designed to ensure their business sustainability using various business models.

Ms. Efrenia Holt of Atbang Farm received the Award for being one of the Top 5 Philippine National Tablea Drink. Handing the award is the Philippine Cacao National Council Chair Mr. ValentiTurtur together with Ms. Charito Puentispina of Malagos Chocolates and DTI XI ARD Engr. Edwin Banquerigo Joining Ms. Holt in the awarding are Consul Armi Garcia, Cebu Provincial Cacao Council Chairperson, Blair Panong, DTI7 Regional Cacao IC Focal and Ms.Mari Frances Macabenta of Balai Cacao Enterprises and Mr. Jun Val, Cacao Entrepreneur from Dauis, Bohol.

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