The Enricoso Cacao Farm is located in Barangay Saloy, Davao, Philippines. Policarpio has lived in the area for 40 years now, expressing his love for the good and friendly people in the area along with its good environment. Situated between tropical mountain forests, Saloy has a special terroir giving its cacao a truly unique flavour profile. It is part of an agricultural region in the Philippines wherein farming of cacao, copras (kernel of the coconut) and a variety of local fruits and vegetables are the main sources of livelihood.
Farmer Policarpio has been farming for around 20 years, having inherited the career from his parents, both of whom are farmers. He works closely with his family in managing the farm without hiring any additional workers - they share the tasks and profits of their labor. He started working with Auro Chocolate in 2015 when the Josefa Segovia Foundation connected him to other cacao farmers who were looking for dependable long-term partners.
He produces and only uses his own organic fertilizer for his trees by composting farm waste. He controls weeds by planting shade trees, maintaining appropriate fertility levels of the soil, mulching, and hand weeding if necessary. It is farming with an ecological mindset. He believes in promoting biodiversity and does not practice monocropping. He has many other trees present in his farm such as durian, coconut and mangosteen, promoting a diverse, healthy ecosystem. He uses spring and rain water to irrigate his farm and provide the approximately 20 liters of water per day that a cacao tree needs. As the president of the local organic farmers organization, he sets an example to his community and encourages them to continue pursuing organic methods.
He has been leading the community of Saloy in their conversion to organic farming and was elected as the president of the Saloy Organic Farmers Organization (SOFO) which was recently formed under Auro’s Organic Certification Program. Policarpio works hard to fulfill his duty as a leader and finds it rewarding despite having to walk several kilometers to pass on information and initiate their meetings. They have been diligently attending regular training with a local non-profit organization called MASIPAG, learning the ropes of organic farming and applying it to their own farms. He finds the journey to convert to organic to be challenging but exciting because he believes that it will greatly benefit the environment, allowing the soil to be free from chemicals and toxic substances enabling them to pass on a healthy land to the next generation. Together with the organization, he hopes to get their farms’ local certification by mid-2021 and eventually, an international certification by the next year.
Policarpio strictly follows the quality guidelines that have been set together with Auro Chocolate in order to consistently produce fine flavor cacao, for which he has receives significant price premiums between 10 to 50% above global commodity prices instead of a monthly salary. This pricing structure by Auro is an incentive for the farmers to improve quality. His community’s pursuit of organic cacao also provides the opportunity for farmers to earn more.
Since cacao is a natural product, some of the beans produced could have some slight imperfections (don't fit ISO 2451:2017 standards), and these are sun dried and sold to Calinan traders so that hardly any cocoa bean is wasted. Farm by-products such as cacao pods are composted and used as organic fertilizer.