Cacao Varieties in the Philippines

16 08-2019
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Cacao Industry has been gaining recognition in the domestic and export markets as the supply and demand gap of cocoa beans is increasing. International demand for cacao has nearly tripled since 1970, growing at an annual rate of 3% with China and India growing at 7.9%. One of the primary drivers of this increase are the growing middle class, increase in disposable household income, innovative uses of cocoa in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, and the positioning of cacao as a healthy food source.


With the country’s conducive location for cacao production and accessibility to domestic and foreign trade, the government aims to push for a more dynamic and competitive industry that will compete with other cacao-producing nations.


In the Philippines, we have three major groups being grown by farmers: Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.




Criollo is considered as the rarest and expensive variety and is native to Central and South America. It is believed to be the first cacao seed planted in the country came from this variety brought by the Acapulco-Manila Galleon Trade. Only 5% of cacao produce is Criollo due to the difficulty in growing due to this variety’s susceptibility to pests and diseases. Criollo beans are white to pale pink, less bitter, highly aromatic and are usually used in premium chocolates.




Forastero is a variant native to the Amazon basin and is the most versatile and most commonly grown cocoa. It is harder, high yielding and resistant to diseases. Forastero beans are purple in color and have a bitter taste. It accounts for 80% of the world’s cocoa supply.




Trinitario is a hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero that combines the best features of the two: high yielding and hardiness of Forastero with the taste of Criollo. It accounts for 10% of the world’s cocoa supply.


Other than the three main varieties, there are fifteen clones that are approved and registered by the National Seeds Industry Council. Clones are recommended in a farm since cacao is not a self-pollinating plant. Out of the fifteen clones, Golden Harvest will be using three, namely UF18, BR25 and K1.


K1 has a red-colored pod with violet beans, BR25 has a reddish pod color when young that turns yellow as it matures and has violet beans. UF18 has an orange yellow with violet beans. All three clone varieties are moderately resistant to pests and diseases.  Out of the three, the BR25 has the earliest flowering and fruiting age at 16 and 17 months respectively.

At Good Harvest, we will strive to provide the highest quality cacao using environment-friendly methods and with the help of the local community.


Sources: Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry: 2017-2022 Philippine Cacao Industry Roadmap

Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc


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