The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently held a national food fair, encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to market and distr ibute their products across the country.
The SikatPinoy National Food Fair 2016 gathered more than 170 exhibitors all over the country. It aims to promote new and emerging food enterprises nationwide.
“The challenge for us is to keep discovering and developing a fresh batch of entrepreneurs from all over the country, and help them take their first steps in accessing the national domestic market,” DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said.
Since its founding in 2013, the SikatPinoy National Food Fair became an avenue for MSMEs from the regions to develop links and to market their products domestically.
The food fair featured products from the 16 regions that were screened based on product quality and safety, packaging and labeling, market potential, and production capacity.
The National Food Fair highlighted major local products based on their domestic and global market presence: coffee, halal food, fruit juices, herbal teas, and health supplements.
The DTI said local coffee products have become a staple in most food fairs because the Philippines is one of the few countries that can produce four commercially viable coffee varieties: Arabica, Excelsa, Robusta, and Liberica or Barako.
Emerging products that have so much potential in penetrating the global market are fruit juice, herbal teas and health supplements. These include traditional medicines like lagundi, ampalaya and malunggay, which are seen as effective alternatives to Western drugs.
Halal products, on the other hand, are also getting the attention of the global market. Cater to the Islam markets, these products have evolved into a sophisticated quality assurance system that promotes hygienic handling of food products and are now being promoted to large markets such as the US and Indonesia.
The food fair not only presented food products, but also provided support to the needs of interested entrepreneurs and answered their queries by putting up booths of concerned government agencies in putting up future food businesses.
These include the Food and Drug Administration, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Export Marketing Bureau, and Philippine Trade Training Center.
“What we are ultimately aiming for is to be able to help these SME participants penetrate much bigger markets and to link them to enabling government agencies,” Rhodora Leaño, director of the DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, said.
The SikatPinoy National Food Fair runs from March 16 to 20 at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.