Nelly Dillera, DTI-Region 12 business development division chief, said they have started to link the 16 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the region that are joining the NTF with various institutional buyers for the forging of possible sales agreements.
“Our goal in joining the NTF is not to just generate spot sales for MSMEs but help match them with domestic and international buyers for long-term deals,” she said in a radio interview.
She said among their target markets are major shopping malls based in Metro Manila, manufacturers and exporters.
The DTI earlier enlisted at least 16 firms from the region to join the four-day NTF.
Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the fair opens on March 12 at the SMX Convention Center of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan, Cotabato and Tacurong.
Dillera said they have reserved at least 12 booths that will feature the region's finest products, which includes processed fish, processed fruit and various arts and crafts using the indigenous Inaul and T'nalak.
“These products have all passed the international quality standards based on CITEM's product evaluation,” she said.
The MSMEs from the region that are joining the NTF are Kablon Farms Corporation, VMotril Food Products, South Valley Foods, Angel Joy Foods, Ninos Foods, Cresing’s Coffee, Coco Wonder Sugar, KM Foods, Rural Improvement Club of Malapatan, Cotabato Bangala, MKM Brasswares, Lakeview Native Handicraft, Banga Cornhusk, Gensan Gardeners, Frivas Enterprise and the Mindanao Coco Fiber.
Dillera said most of the products from Region 12 that will be showcased at the NTF are food items but she said they also brought along some native crafts that have started to draw significant interest from various buyers during the previous trade fairs.
But she said they advised their exhibitors to choose only the small items so then can easily be moved and eventually sold.
“Right now, we're not much into bigger products like furniture because the market for it has slowed down even in some countries,” she said.
For this year's NTF, Dillera said they expect to generate new trade opportunities for semi-processed and raw materials from the region that were earlier allowed by CITEM to be showcased in the exposition along with the finished products.
“This a positive development because we have a lot of quality semi-processed and raw materials that manufacturers may tap,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)