By Gil Ragil / Emerging Products Division / DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

07 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

RIPPLES Plus-enrolled companies with organic-certified products recognized by the European Union are set to participate in Biofach 2018, touted to be the world’s leading trade fair for organic food slated to be held from February 14 to 17 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Ripples Plus, or the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters Plus, is a program that prepares participating Philippine companies, most of whom are small and medium enterprises, to make them export-ready, and to enhance their export capacity and competitiveness. After attaining both, the program seeks to match them with prospective foreign buyers and vigorously pursues the promotion of their products in the global market.

The Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with Alegria C. Donado, assistant chief of its Emerging Products Division, as head of mission, has organized and is set to conduct and manage an Outbound Business Matching Mission composed of Philippine companies manufacturing and producing natural and organic products.

The products are as diverse as coco water/juice/milk, virgin coconut oil, instant powdered beverages, botanicals, candies, cosmetics, seasonings and raw brown sugar (muscovado).

Participating Philippine companies include Ahya Coco Organice Food Manufacturing Corp., Herbanext Laboratories Inc.,  Healthy Sweets Mindanao Corp., Japan Philippines Malunggay Eco Farm Inc.,  Pasciolco Agri Ventures, Raw Brown Sugar Milling Co. Inc., Team Asia Corp., Tropicana Food Products Inc., Tree Life Coco Sugar and Wellness International Corp.

This will be the very first time that Philippine companies will be exhibiting at Biofach since it started in 1990.

As posted in the official Biofach 2018 web site, Organic is more than a label or certification: Organic stands for quality and conviction—for the responsible use of nature’s resources.  Biofach in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg is the place where people share their passionate interest in organic food, get to know each other and exchange views, and this, since 1990. To date, 2,950 exhibitors and more than 50,000 visitors [including Vivaness] from the national and international organic sector are expected at Biofach 2018.  The perfect opportunity for visiting professionals to meet organic producers from the organic market and be inspired by the sector’s latest trends.

Opinions on Biofach were elicited from notable persons, including Dr. Felix Prinz zu Lowestein, chairman of the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BOLW); Markus Arbenz, managing director of Biofach’s international patron, Ifoam—Organics International; and Petra Wolf, member of NÜrnbergMesse’s management board.

Lowenstein said, “The exhibition center became a lively international marketplace dominated by impressed exhibitors and visitors in aisles of Biofach. The fact that this trade fair is attended by a number of top political, administrative and diplomatic corps representatives means it has become one of the main places for debates concerning the future of food  and organic farming industries. With Germany appearing as the country of the year, the German organic enterprises at the exhibition were able to highlight their abilities in the areas of innovation and sustainability in a special way.”

Arbenz, meanwhile, stated that, “It’s been a record year for the organic sector and a record year for Biofach. The trade fair reflects the great mood in the industry excellently.  It is where attention is drawn to the topics that affect the professionals in production, trade, services and politics and that people have to be aware of if they want to be successful with organic products.  For both Germany and the rest of the world, organic farming is a tool that can be used to achieve the United Nation’s global Sustainable Development Goals, which are officially supported by most countries.”

Wolf said, “After four successful days at the exhibitions, we and the organic industry are pleased that there was a great atmosphere in the halls and that those who came were able to meet high-quality contacts.  As well as by the country of the year, Germany, plenty of inspiration was provided by the Stadtlandbio [city country organic] congress and the varied programs entitled Nuremberg the Organic City.  We’re already looking forward to the next edition for the exhibition duo and seeing in all the market players for Biofach and Vivaness 2018.”

How was it a year ago? The exhibition duo consisting of Biofach, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, and Vivaness, the international trade fair for natural personal care, set a  new record in 2017 by welcoming a total of 51,453 trade visitors.  People traveled to Nuremberg for the industry get-togethers from 134 countries, and were impressed with the range of products offered by the 2,793 exhibitors (258 of these were at Vivaness) from 88 countries and allowed themselves to be inspired by the country of the year, Germany.  The organic industry as a whole continued to progress, too: In 2016 German households spent 9.9 percent more on organic food and drink than in the year before with sales amounting to €9.48 billion, according to the German Federation of Organic Food Industry.  More and more clients are opting for natural cosmetics, as well.  The results of a joint survey conducted by naturkosmetick konzepte, the Society for Consumer Research (Gfk), IRI, IMSHealth and BioVista, showed that the German natural-cosmetics market has a market share of 8.5 percent and is worth €1.15 billion, meaning it is the strongest natural-cosmetics market in Europe.

The exhibitors at the world’s leading trade fair for organic food were extremely satisfied at the end of the event.  According to a survey carried out by an independent institute, 89 percent of the exhibitors at Biofach said the exhibition had been a success overall.  About 93 percent praised the quality of the visitors at their stands and were able to reach their target groups, while conversations at the stands also led to the initiation of new business relationships for 93 percent.

In addition, 85 percent expected post-exhibition business as a result of contacts acquired over the four days. Following the positive response to their products, 88 percent of the Biofach exhibitors intend to take part again in the future.  As regards the visitors, 97 percent were happy with the range of products available and 94 percent plan to come again.

The 2017 Biofach and Vivaness congresses drew great interest from all the market players, too. The industry and knowledge forums, which included over 120 different events altogether, were attended by a total of 8,125.  The most popular event relating to Germany as the country of the year was the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (BMEL) presentation on its strategy for the future in organic farming (ZOL), which was attended by over 150.  The event with the most attendees overall was “Global Market Overview,”  which was attended by over 240.

The area of market research in the Vivaness  congress also attracted special interest.  More than 100 attended the presentation, entitled “The 2016 natural cosmetics year: Looking back and looking forward.”

Like Biofach, the 2017 presentation of its natural personal-care counterpart held for a cosmetics market which is becoming greener all the time ended with good results.  In addition to the pavilions of Vivaness’s two honorary sponsors, Cosmos and Natrue, visitors showed keen interest in numerous other highlights. These ranged from the novelty stand, displaying 196 innovative products to the “German Newcomers” pavilion, which was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and housed 10 exhibitors, to the young innovative companies from abroad involved in the special show Breeze. With representatives from nine countries, Breeze was even more international than in 2016 and included enterprises from Australia and the United States, among others.

Said Harald Dittmar, the managing director of the German Association of Industrial and Retail Companies for Medicines, Health Foods, Food Supplements and Cosmetics (BDIH), which is one of the founding members of Cosmos:  “Vivaness 2017 was a complete success for Cosmos and the BDIH. Even the companies from abroad exhibiting Cosmos-certified products at the Cosmos pavilion this year for the first time were all very positive with their experience at Vivaness. This shows that the market for natural and organic cosmetics is continuing to grow steadily and there are good opportunities even with smaller companies and start-ups. The demand for certification in accordance with the Cosmos standard has increased significantly once again both in and outside of Germany, and the fact that compliance with the standard became compulsory for allo Cosmos members on January 1, 2017, is bound to have contributed here. As one of Vivaness’s honorary sponsors, they were delighted to be able to enrich the trade fair with and appearance dominated by internationality.”

Said Klara Ahlers, the president of Natrue: “Congratulations on producing such successful trade fairs.  Over 50,000 visitors confirms how great the international interest in Biofach and Vivaness and in the organic and natural cosmetics industries is. Vivaness informed, inspired and showcased current trends through product worlds, a specialized supporting program and discussions. As an honorary sponsor of Vivaness, they are pleased it was a success. It is an international meeting place and an important shop window for certified natural cosmetics and Natrue. They marked Natrue’s 10th anniversary at Vivaness and they can’t imagine a better place to have celebrated the occasion.  The Natrue team met a lot of interesting people and were able to acquire a large number of new contacts. The 10 exhibitors in the Natrue pavilion were also very happy.”

A wide range of newly developed products and innovative discoveries were presented at the Biofach and Vivaness novelty stands once again in 2017. There were 770 new products registered for these two stands altogether (Biofach, 574; Vivaness, 196), and visitors were given the opportunity to vote for those products that they believed were the most interesting and worthy of recognition.

In order to give participating Philippine companies and interested individuals a glimpse on what these interesting products are, the lucky winners of the resulting Best New Product Awards can be viewed at and

The Olive Oil Awards were also presented in the Olive Oil World of Experience at Biofach. A list of winners here can be viewed at

The DTI-EMB said they hope “that the international recognition has given our Philippine natural and organic businesses and individuals the impetus to pursue their respective commitments and interests in all things natural and organic. The entire world is waiting for Philippine natural and organic producers to offer it what they have been nurturing and taking care of all these years. We wish them nothing but success in Biofach and Vivaness 2018 for we know that they have what the world demands and requires when it comes to natural and organic products be it food, botanicals or cosmetics.”

07 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

PARTICIPANTS under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (Ripples) Plus program will be part of the Ambiente 2018 from February 9 to 13 in Messe Frankfurt, Germany.

The local companies participating in Ambiente are Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation, Red Slab Pottery and PumicUnlimited Ventures.

The RIPPLES Plus Program is headed by DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) in partnership with DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG).

The program is assisting emerging micro, small, and medium enterprises  in the development of their products and services through strategic interventions such as trainings and capacity-building; investment, marketing and promotions, support for innovation, product development and design; market access facilitation through Mutual Recognition Arrangements  and certifications. These interventions or modes of assistance will ensure that the companies are competent and export-ready. The program has worked toward increasing the number of internationally competitive local product and services exporters with EMB at the helm.

The Philippines’s Ambiente 2018 participation is under the Lifestyle Philippines brand with the theme “Sustainability through Design,” in which the brand bridges the ecological gap between ethics and aesthetics, infusing nature and artisanship in crafting products for modern living.

Returning and new Filipino exhibitors from the home-décor sector will showcase products under the trade fair’s three categories: Dining, Giving, and Living.

Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation and Celestial Arts qualify for the Dining category, which covers table, kitchen, houseware and household products. GSG Paper is in the Giving category for their handmade and vibrant products that fit in the group’s varied gift selection.

Red Slab Pottery, Artisana Island Crafts, Silay Export, Tadeco Home Décor, PumiceUnlimited Ventures, 33 Point 3, Arden Classic, Chanalli, Finali Furniture & Home Accessories, Freden Export, Larone Crafts and Nature’s Legacy are under the Living category’s home interiors and design collection.

The country has a trademark on featuring products with sustainability but, still have beautiful and excellent design. Most designers are inspired on plants and other natural resources abundant in the archipelago to materialize their vision.

This is the Philippines’s third collective participation at Ambiente, the leading international trade fair for consumer goods happening in Messe Frankfurt, Germany. Table settings, kitchen accessories and household products take the spotlight in the show. Gifts, interior trends and home concepts are also showcased. From abaca, raffia, bamboo, rattan, coconut husk, mother of pearl, fine bone china, artisan communities of the Philippines transform these renewable materials into consciously crafted objects, thus minimizing the negative impact on our country’s resources and at the same time, connecting the buyers with the Philippines’s natural environment. The Philippines’s Ambiente 2018 participation is organized by the Citem, the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Citem is targeting $1.8 million worth of export sales.

“Ambiente 2018 is a great platform to strengthen Philippine companies’ network and client base in Germany and the rest of Europe. The trade fair is a wonderful experience for Filipino exporters because they have a chance to be acquainted with the international market’s latest trends,” Citem Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said.

Citem’s efforts to increase the global competitiveness of the country’s gifts, décor, and houseware sector are in line with the government’s latest target—to grow the sector by 20 percent in the next five years. The Board of Investments identified more than 2,400 handicraft enterprises in the Philippines. Majority of those are MSMEs located in the NCR, Cordillera Region, Region 5, and Region 12.

31 January 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

SHOWCASING innovativeness in manipulating renewable sources, 15 Philippine lifestyle brands are set to participate in the upcoming Ambiente 2018 trade event in Messe Frankfurt, Germany, on February 9-13, 2018.

Home decors from Freden Arden Classic Inc., Artisana Island Crafts, Celestial Arts Inc., ChanalH, GSG by Flora Cereatives, MARSSE Tropical Timber Plantations, Nature’s Legacy Eximport  Inc., Pumice Unlimited Ventures, Red Slab Pottery, Larone, Finali, Silay Export Inc., Tadeco Home and 33 Point 3 Exports Inc. will embody the theme of “Sustainability through Design” for the Philippines’s third collective participation at Ambiente.

Sustainable design has risen in popularity in recent years for its social, economic and ecological principles, such as emotionally durable design, recyclable properties and use of low-impact and renewable materials.

It is a general reaction to the global environmental crises, depletion of natural resources, damage to ecosystems and the environment, among others. With an emphasis for ethics over aesthetics, there is a misconception that sustainable design lacks inspiration.

From conventional local materials like abaca and rattan to hardened lava, the Philippine participation will highlight the inventiveness of Philippine artisans in transforming renewable materials into premium modern pieces.

Pumice Unlimited Ventures creates home décor and accent pieces from all natural volcanic stone taken from the Mount Pinatubo eruption site. The lava rocks are nontoxic and any rock waste is donated to the local government for road

MARSSE Tropical Timber Plantations creates sustainably made home, kitchen and dining accessories from responsibly logged wood. The company is an avid promoter of sustainable management of forest plantations, as well as promotion of modern forest technologies.

A maker of sustainable and innovative materials, Nature’s Legacy is a global manufacturer of home furnishings and garden accessories. The company only uses agri-forest debris as raw materials for products, ensuring buyers that no trees were cut for their products.

“We as designers and manufacturers have a responsibility in minimizing the negative impact on our country’s resources and at the same time, connect with international trade buyers through our products,” said Clayton Tugonon, executive director of the Center for Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Ambiente 2017 attracted more than 4,400 companies and exhibitors from 94 countries. The trade fair also branches out to international markets, holding shows in the major Asian cities of Tokyo, New Delhi and Shanghai.

Citem is the organizer of the Manila FAME—the second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific, and the only trade event in the Philippines approved by Union des Foires Internationales, a Paris-based association of trade-fair organizers founded 90 years ago in Italy.

Manila FAME is a biannual business-sourcing platform of export ready and finely crafted furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor and fashion accessories. It showcases the best of Philippine design and craftsmanship.

07 February 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Philippines’s biggest markets for bananas, fresh or dried, are Japan, China and Russia. The country also has closest export links with Japan. However, the Philippines has yet to maximize its export potential in Japan and China. In Japan there remains $95.5 million worth of untapped potential in the banana industry. The Chinese market has a $6.9-million export potential yet to be capitalized on.

Germany shows the largest absolute value difference between potential and actual exports in value terms. This untapped potential is valued at $536.9 million. Following Germany, Belgium  the United Kingdom, and the United States, Germany also has some of the largest export potential for bananas, worth $150 million to $170 million.



Raison D. Arobinto / Halal Section / DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

31 January 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

AS part of the implementation of the Philippine Halal Development and Promotion Program under Republic Act (RA) 10817, the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) will be conducting a Halal Awareness Seminar and Consultation with Mindanao halal stakeholders.

The DTI-EMB, as the secretariat of the Philippine Halal Export Board, will conduct the activity to lay out the strategic plan for Philippine exports of halal products and services at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City on February 1.

The activity will be in time for the inaugural launch of AirAsia’s flight from Davao City to Kuala Lumpur and vice-versa. The EMB is taking this opportunity to invite Mindanao micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with halal-certified products and services, to present and offer their products to Air Asia since the company is scouting for potential products and services.

The EMB encourages Mindanao MSMEs to bring product samples during the seminar for a product showcase with participants, including Air Asia.

As part of the Halal Awareness Seminar, the EMB will also present, for consultation, the draft of the Philippine Halal Development and Promotion Program Strategic Plan, and how the halal programs of the different government agencies will fit in, particularly the Muslim-friendly tourism program.  This program will be initiated by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the other government agencies, including the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Department of Agriculture, the Mindanao Development Authority, the Department of Science and Technology, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the Davao City Halal Development Council.

With the formulation for the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion strategic plan under RA 10817, the Philippines is seen to achieve its objectives to promote the growth and ensure the integrity and quality of Philippine halal exports.

The activity would provide an opportunity for MSMEs based in Davao and nearby regions to participate in the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas 2018), which will be held from April 2-9, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In particular, the activity aims to achieve the following objectives:

To promote market awareness of the Philippines as a supplier of quality halal-certified products, thus promoting also Muslim-friendly tourism in the Philippines, not only for the Malaysian consumers and travelers (tourists) but also to other Muslim markets.

To explore possible tie-ups and deepen areas of cooperation between the PHilippine Halal Export Program and the services that can be offered by AirAsia Philippines.

To support Philippine small and medium processors and suppliers—particularly those based in Mindanao—in taking advantage of the direct flight serviced by Air Asia from Davao City to Kuala Lumpur and vice-versa, in the growing global demand for halal products through the Malaysian gateway.

To promote MSMEs in Mindanao to introduce their products through Air Asia as a venue to eventually penetrate the Malaysian market for halal-food products.

To increase the participation of MSMEs to Mihas 2018.

The event will feature a total of 200 participants composed of various halal stakeholders, many from Mindanao areas. Apart from Mindanao MSMEs, DTI Regional Offices in Mindanao, representatives from other government agencies, academe, halal certifiers, consumer groups and Muslim religious groups are expected to attend the event.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, co-founder and Group CEO of the AirAsia Group; Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairwoman of AirAsia X; Charles Jose, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia; some Davao government officials, and other personalities are expected to be present in the event.

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