Davao cacao co-op relishes sweet success via LANDBANK partnership

The Biao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (BARBCO) led by General Manager Guadalupe Ocial has grown into a prominent cacao industry player in the Davao region through a productive partnership with LANDBANK.

DAVAO CITY – From its humble beginnings to the success it is now reaping, the growth of the Biao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (BARBCO) is deeply rooted in the soil of collective endeavor, resilience, and fruitful partnerships.

BARBCO was established in 1992 by former employees of the defunct Philippine Cocoa States Corporation, and initially ventured into the Lakatan banana industry.

BARBCO has since grown into a prominent agriculture player in the region, primarily engaged in cocoa production, marketing, and cocoa liquor and chocolate production. It now has 41 regular members and 215 associate members.

Their journey, however, was not without challenges. BARBCO General Manager Guadalupe Ocial admits that the 200 hectares of land awarded to them as Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) was a significant opportunity, but needed much work to really establish a productive and sustainable business.

They needed enough working capital to fuel their growth—and this was where the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) stepped in.

BARBCO first turned to LANDBANK for support during the co-op’s early beginnings in the 1992 when they availed funding for Lakatan banana production. This relationship grew over the years and paved the way for their successful venture into the cacao value chain in 2016.

General Manager Ocial emphasizes the importance of this partnership especially in streamlining the process of securing financial assistance whenever they needed it.

BARBCO first gained prominence in 2018 as the producer of Chocolate de Biao or “hugot chocolates” which featured sentimental lines, that became popular especially among the younger market.

“Because of this long-standing relationship we have with LANDBANK, it was easier for us to process documents for the assistance we need,” said General Manager Ocial.

Today, BARBCO’s portfolio includes the consolidation and processing of cacao beans into various chocolate products, including tablea, nibs, cacao butter, and powder.

This access to credit and ease of doing business with LANDBANK has empowered BARBCO to expand their reach. What began with cacao bean consolidation solely within Davao City has now extended to Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, and Davao del Sur.

And the cooperative’s success extends beyond financial gains. BARBCO serves as a conduit of support from LANDBANK to its farmer members, ensuring fair compensation for their produce. This commitment to uplifting local farmers has garnered attention even from international food corporations, who now supply cacao beans to BARBCO, drawn by the promise of equitable pricing.

“As a cooperative, we are like a channel of the support of LANDBANK. So whatever we get from LANDBANK, we provide it to our farmer members by making sure that we give them the best price for their cacao beans,” explained General Manager Ocial.

Even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, BARBCO stood resilient, thanks in no small part to the partnership with LANDBANK. Through prudent management and unwavering support, they were able to sustain their workforce, ensuring that employees are properly compensated amid limited operations.

For General Manager Ocial, BARBCO’s success is not measured solely in profits but in the fulfillment of a collective vision. As she reflects on their journey, she underscores the legacy that the co-op aims to leave behind—a legacy of empowerment, shared prosperity, and community upliftment.

“It’s a legacy na maiiwan, because I’m not really after my own gain and profit. As long as I can provide for my family, I’m fulfilled. As long as my members and workers are happy and satisfied, then so am I,” she added.

As BARBCO continues to sow the seeds of success, their partnership with LANDBANK remains steadfast—a testament to the transformative power of collaboration in driving inclusive growth and prosperity in the rich agricultural landscape of Davao and beyond.


LANDBANK is the largest development financial institution in the country promoting financial inclusion, digital transformation and sustainable development to benefit Filipinos. It is committed to provide responsive and meaningful services beyond banking, while leveraging on innovative technology for safe, convenient, and accessible digital banking solutions.

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