GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 March) — Fifteen micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sarangani Province are set to benefit from an innovative business development program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in preparation for the integration of the economies of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states.
Nenita Barroso, DTI-Sarangani provincial director, said they will sign a memorandum of understanding next week with 15 MSMEs in province for the rollout starting this month of its Integrated Product and Market Development Project (i-PMDP).
She said the initiative will mainly involve selected MSMEs in the province under its processed food cluster.
The processed food cluster is one of the prioritized subsectors under the DTI’s industry clustering strategy.
Barroso said the i-PMDP aims to increase and sustain the supply of export-quality processed products in the province.
“We will be identifying common products and harmonize market development interventions for diverse sectors of our processed food industry,” she said in a statement.
The official said the project is one of the provincial initiatives of the DTI to help local entrepreneurs prepare for the integration of the ASEAN economies.
She said Sarangani was among the areas that were seen to benefit largely from the regional economic cooperation due to its strategic location.
The province is among the provinces in Mindanao that has active engagements with areas within the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA.
Barroso said that since processed food products from the province have so much potential in the ASEAN market, local MSMEs should have proper compliance with standards on food preparation, handling, manufacturing and other necessary requirements for exportation.
Through the program, she said they will help prepare local entrepreneurs in positioning themselves and their businesses to move up to the higher stages or levels of the exportation process.
One of the strategies of the project is to refer the submitted products of project enrollees to a certified food technologist for business and product diagnosis and capacity training, she said.
Barroso said the process also includes the submission of the products for nutrient fact study by Food and Nutrient Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology.
She said they will also prepare MSMEs for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation as provided for under its New Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) for FDA-LTO (License-to-Operate) accreditation.
Barroso added that the project will involve five phases and will run for six months. (MindaNews)