The Department of Science and Technology Region XI (DOST XI) launched the chocolate processing facility of the Barangay Local Government Unit of Lumiad in partnership with the DOST-assisted Lumiad Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (LUFAMPCO) as part of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Davao City program last June 22, 2023.
The equipment acquired for the facility include a desheller and winnowing machine, cacao roaster, grinder, cacao bean cracker, chocolate melanger, tempering machine, and a hydraulic oil press machine. With these, the facility is expected to produce cacao nibs, cocoa butter, chocolate spread, chocolate bars, and customized chocolate molds.
For their part, City Science & Technology Director Mr. Arnel Rodriguez said LUFAMPCO funded the renovation of the facility to meet the standards of the plant layout.
The facility is set to operate after a forthcoming training on chocolate processing later this year for LUFAMPCO members with the MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation, a Davao-based award-winning Halal chocolate producer and a livelihood partner of LUFAMPCO.
Mr. Celso A. Bughao Jr., LUFAMPCO President, shared that they almost wanted to give up the project because of the high standards required for Good Manufacturing Practices and Halal Certification. “Mu-atras na unta mi pero grabeng motivation ni Sir Arnel (Rodriguez) sa koa. Gi-anhi gyud ko niya. Gi-istorya mi na padayon lang jud, padayon. (We were close to withdrawing but Sir Rodriguez highly motivated me. He came here and encouraged us to keep going.)
DOST XI will also provide the packaging and branding interventions following the opening of the production facility. The final stage, marketing, will be assisted by MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation.
Since 2021, DOST XI has been providing multiple services to LUFAMPCO to help them with their cacao production such as Good Manufacturing Process training and Plant Layout Consultancy service for their chocolate processing center.