Mindanao micro, small exporters tap local market to sell excess inventories

DAVAO CITY(MindaNews/ 15 Aug)—Micro and small exporters from Mindanao are tapping the domestic market to cushion negative impacts brought by the slowing down of the export market, Teolulo Pasawa, city trade and industry director, said Tuesday.

This is the main intention of the Mindanao Trade Expo (MTE) 2012, an ongoing event at the Abreeza Mall here until Thursday that is featuring export overruns and inventories through retail selling, he added.

“We don’t want disruptions to happen,” he said, citing the Cavendish banana export industry that suffered a setback after China stopped buying export quality bananas.

To cushion its impact, the banana farmers are tapping the domestic market as a coping mechanism, Pasawa said.

Ann Pamintuan, president of the MTE Foundation, Inc., said the P20-million target sales for this year’s expo is smaller than those of the previous years because it is a consumer show or a bazaar with smaller booths.

“It’s a different take this time,” she said, noting that the P20 million will not be earned entirely on the spot, but some amount will be under negotiations so it will take a while to generate the target amount of sales.

Noting that there are 68 participants out of the usual 100 in previous MTEs, she said the intention of this year’s expo is to sell the surplus of exporters on the spot.

“It’s the first time we’re doing it. Before, we produce products for exhibit to get orders so we get buyers from Manila and outside the country. This time, it’s retail show. We’ll be lucky if we have an institutional buyer and exporter to have a bigger order,” she added.

Benjamin Kalalo, board of trustee of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport), said one of the reasons for tapping the local market is that exporters have inventories and they intend to make available the export products to the local market.

By letting the local buyers experience the quality and craftsmanship of these products, Pamintuan said the exporters stimulate a domestic demand.

For 17 years of being the major marketing platform of Mindanao-based micro, small and medium businessmen, she said the MTE Foundation is looking forward to continue this effort in the next 17 years.

“It’s not easy to develop exporters as one needs to have enough psychological and financial capacities,” she said, adding that they began without enough capabilities for export until they were able to connect local talents and producers, who became direct exporters.

Citing that MTE 2012 is being hosted for micro and small entrepreneurs, which comprise 97 percent of registered companies nationwide, Kalalo said they are very relevant sectors because they are major providers of livelihood and employment to the Filipinos.

Products showcased in the exhibit include gifts, toys and hardwares; furniture and furnishings; home textile; fashion accessories; fine jewelry pieces; and processed food items.

He said the industries involved are characterized as regionally dispersed, agriculturally-based, provide employment to different regions, local raw materials, labor intensive and not requiring sophisticated tools.

Supporting the expo were the departments of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, and Science and Technology, Philexport, USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao, and the Abreeza Ayala Mall. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)