They are working hard to successfully convert their farms and gain access to new opportunities.
We are delighted to introduce to you one of our partner farmer groups in Davao, the Saloy Organic Farmers Organization (SOFO)!
SOFO is a small group of cacao farmers who recently started their organic conversion journey. They hail from the community of Saloy, Davao - one of our dedicated partner communities since the beginning of our chocolate journey in 2015. Moreover, the area is also composed of generations of farmers who have been nurturing cacao for many decades. The lush farms of Saloy have consistently offered cacao that are rich in quality and flavor, enabling us to share a unique origin to the world.
Their people’s organization has only been recently formed under the Organic Conversion Program (OCP), our latest initiative to provide assistance to the community in their efforts to convert to organic farming practices. They are currently led by Farmer Policarpio Enricoso, the elected President who also serves as a pastor for their community. Through this program, we are able to provide training on proper organic practices with the help of MASIPAG (Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura), who have been so kind to assist us. Recently, we were also able to donate a newly-built vermicast facility in the area that will be a communal place for SOFO to do vermicomposting, an organic composting method that uses castings from earthworms.
The Organic Vermicast Facility was officially turned over to SOFO last July 29, 2021
Organic farming is a long, tedious journey for farmers, especially in pursuit of certification. While our partner farmers have been organic by default for many years, there is still much work to be done - the certification also requires them to follow specific protocols and provide documentation in order to pass. On top of that, there are many challenges that they also face in the management of their farms, including the acquisition of organic inputs.
Despite the challenges, the cacao farmers of Saloy are determined to gain their certification by 2022. They have been taking several steps to convert their farms since last year. We work closely with them, providing assistance and support whenever we can.
We are excited to be with them in this journey, and we hope you are, too. We look forward to sharing more exciting news on their journey towards organic certification.
Article written by: Ira Mendez