Made in Mindanao products featured in next year's Int'l Food Exhibit

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 November) — Made in Mindanao products will be featured in the International Food Exhibit (IFEX) that the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) has scheduled for May next year in Manila.

Ramon Bruan, CITEM show organizer, said the international and food beverage show will showcase the best of Mindanao’s food products to dispel Mindanao’s old image associated only with war and conflict.

“Mindanao used to be associated only to turmoil,” said Bruan, “Why Mindanao? We want to project the positive image of Mindanao and promote it as the next food basket in Asia.”

He said Mindanao supplies 40 per cent of the country’s food requirement and that the island has been one of the main contributors to the country’s food exports. Last year, Mindanao raked in US $400 million from food exports, generating some 1,000 jobs.

“Mindanao has been a contributor to a large part of the food trade in the country,” he said in a presentation during the gathering of the Confederation of  Provincial Governors, Municipal Mayors League Presidents of Mindanao (ConfedMindanao).

The 8th IFEX Philippines 2011 will take place at the  SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on May 12 to 14.  It will feature Mindanao’s Best Food Show at the Exporter’s Hall, which will showcase at least 10 food champions in Mindanao and five food manufacturers per region. Another exhibit hall will also feature country pavilions and booths, among them, the halal and kosher pavilions and a pavilion featuring a number of foreign embassies.

“CITEM will highlight Mindanao as our partner island for the next year’s IFEX, a show that will change Mindanao’s image used to be associated by war and conflict.”

IFEX also invites different local government units in Mindanao to feature their products in the One Town One Product (OTOP) program of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The fair, which showcases the country’s food manufacturers, traders, retailers, consolidators, agents and distributors, is attended each year by foreign buyers and importers, Philippine food exporters and wholesalers, among others.

Bruan said IFEX has generated some US$63 million export sales from over 1,412 foreign buyers from previous exhibits.  (Germelina A. Lacorte/MindaNews)