PASAY CITY (Mindanao Development Authority) — The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) showcased their locally-produced chips or tipas of Maguindanao and coco sugar of Sulu to the international market as they participated in this year’s International Food Exhibit (IFEX) at the World Trade Center, Pasay.
The Mindanao Pavilion showcase all six regions’ specialty products and commodities, proving the island-region’s position as the “food basket of the Philippines.”
The ARMM, represented by The Moropreneur Incorporated (TMI) and Tubig Samin Agricultural Producer Cooperative, two of the local consolidators of agricultural products in the region, sees IFEX as a great avenue to expand their prospective markets and to explore ideas for product development.
“During the first day, we already sold more than 1,000 and 500 packs of sweet and spicy tipas and coco sugar respectively. Aside from its all-natural ingredients, both are Halal-certified products, too”, said Prince Shoudery Galo, Trade and Industry Development Specialist of DTI-ARMM.
The DTI-ARMM has been actively assisting the local entrepreneurs in developing their products and encouraging creative innovation to be able to compete both in the domestic and international market.
“We already conducted training on proper product development, labeling, packaging and marketing to the five provinces with around 8 to 15 MSMEs per province. Apart from that, we offer basic entrepreneurial skills training. We want them to look forward to exporting their products as they step up to a new level” he added.
Currently, DTI-ARMM is exploring ways to acquire barcodes and comply with the international standards in order to join the export market.
“IFEX has always been helpful in harnessing the professional growth of the entrepreneurs and the market position of their products,” Galo said.
He also added that there is vast potential for agri-based food products that ARMM possesses given its highly fertile agricultural land producing major products such as cassava, palay, coconut, corn, seaweed, rubber, among others.
ARMM posted a remarkable 7.3 percentgross regional domestic product growth last year, outpacing the National Capital Region’s (NCR) 6.1 percent and the national growth rate of 6.7 percent. According to the data processed by the Mindanao Development Authority, the growth was primarily brought by the recovery of the agriculture sector, which resulted to the improvement in production of crops, livestock, and poultry.
“This truly defines the resilience of ARMM, to be able top the country’s growing regional economies amidst the turmoil that hit the region last year,” said MinDA Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto.
Along with DTI, MinDA, and Department of Agriculture (DA) are taking its active role in putting the local producers and manufacturers at the forefront of their massive development initiatives across Mindanao.
“Our local enterprises are crucial in keeping the Mindanao economy afloat. Time and again, in various occasions, we have proven that our MSMEs produce globally competitive products that promote the natural abundance of Mindanao,” Alonto said.
The International Food Exhibit is the country’s biggest trade exhibition where local and international food companies converge to promote their products, forge partnerships and create opportunities for future trade ventures. (MinDA)