The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called on small and medium enterprises or SMEs to take part in Sikat Pinoy fairs to gain exposure to local and world markets.
DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo said SMEs could learn about higher standards of product quality and packaging in Sikat Pinoy through cross-polination of ideas and execution.
“Aside from exposing SMEs to national buyers or large companies to get big orders, we expose them to the products of the other enterprises,” Domingo said during the Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair.
The Fair, dubbed “Piling-piling Pagkaing Pilipino,” showcased food products of 150 exhibitors.
The exhibited items included meat, fish and marine products; processed fruits and vegetables; ingredients, sauces, and condiments; wines and beverages; coffee, tea, and cocoa; bakery products; snacks and confectionaries; organic, herbal and natural products; food supplements and vitamins.
Domingo said the fair was intended to promote native food products and delicacies from the various parts of the country.
He said some participants, who were ready to export their products, could benefit from the European Union’s (EU) recent grant of new Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme or GSP+ status to the Philippines with zero duty on their products.
But Filipino exports to tge European Union (EU) must pass the labeling requirements and product standards for food, Domingo said.
Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP) Director Rhodora Leaño said her office have been engaged on special projects with big institutional buyers and supermarkets.
“One of the basic requirements that they are seeking from suppliers is the fact that they must have a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration. They can be appeased if the supplier has at least filed an application with FDA,” said Leaño.
Leaño said the FDA has released new guidelines and more considerate in handling the application of SMEs.
“In this age of globalization, there is no way to go but follow a given criteria. If you do not follow, your chances of actually growing become almost nil,” Leaño said.
Leaño also mentioned that BDTP together with DTI’s regional offices are sponsoring product development assistance to SMEs and hopes to see its output in the succeeding trade fairs that DTI will mount.