Finding sweet success by spreading chocolate

The best way to attain a goal is by working with others who share the same dream as yours.

This belief sparked the idea for a group of farmers to put up the Subasta Integrated Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Subasta) in Calinan, Davao City.

With its members heavily dependent on cacao farming for their livelihood, farmers joined together to serve as a stable and reliable buyer of local cacao products and selling them to local and international buyers.

Subasta’s efforts paid off. Calinan farmers now have higher earnings to take home, thanks to Subasta purchasing their products at almost double the price of previous buyers. Notably, the cooperative now has over a hundred members from the twentyseven farmers who formed Subasta in 2009.

Over the years, Subasta realized that they needed to equip members with the necessary skills to produce better cacao beans. In 2012, numerous training sessions were given to help improve the way they grow and handle their produce. They were also taught better farming methods and the benefits of using organic fertilizers, leading them to eventually discontinue the use of harmful chemical fertilizers.

Eventually, their superior cacao products began to capture interested buyers from Manila, Cebu, Leyte, and Bohol. Subasta even gained the attention of Askinosie Chocolate of Springfield, Missouri, now its largest buyer who considers Davao as their partner in sourcing high-quality cacao beans. They use the Subasta cacao in their renowned dark chocolate bars.

Following their success as a supplier, Subasta set their sights on bigger goals and is now aiming for international accreditation and export to new foreign markets. They have since started on cacao bean processing and chocolate making and are now producing their own brand of tableya de subasta (fermented dried cacao beans) chocolates.