To support the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the CALABARZON Region through product promotion and market linkage, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 4-A held the Agri-Business Forum cum Business Matching for the sectors of coffee, cacao, and processed fruits and nuts on August 8, 2019 in Calamba City, Laguna, gathering local farmer processors, industry players, institutional buyers, consolidators, exporters, and regional-line agencies.

Coffee, cacao, and processed fruits and nuts are among the priority sectors that DTI 4-A is targeting to develop in the next five (5) years, given its high potential to accelerate the Region’s economic growth. Initial efforts to level up these sectors have been initiated by the agency along with other partners in the government and the private sector.

We gathered industry players in the priority sectors of coffee, cacao and processed fruits and nuts who can share their experiences and expertise, at the same time, this is also a good chance for our local farmer processors, members of farmer-processor cooperatives and associations, and women micro entrepreneurs to link their products to these possible buyers and exporters. We want to promote our local products in the Region and for our farmers and entrepreneurs to rise up and to be players in the value chain,” said DTI CALABARZON Regional Director Marilou Q. Toledo.

The forum discussed the market opportunities, trends, and technology updates on the coffee, cacao, fruits, banana, and farm-tourism industry and initiatives on Philippine food product promotions, support programs for MSMEs, and possible areas for collaboration.

A mini-selling cum exhibit and a tasting area for institutional buyers were set-up for all the products brought by participating suppliers. Business-to-Business (B2B) sessions were simultaneously being held. Institutional buyers such as Shanghai Qugao International Trading Co., Ltd, SM Supermarket, Yazaki Torres Manufacturing, Inc., Echosi Foundation, Inc., TP Food Processing Corporation, Villa Socorro Farm, Casino Filipino Tagaytay, Seda Hotel, Hotel Marciano, Taal Vista Hotel, The Bayleaf Hotel, Bote Central, Inc., KLT Fruits Incorporated, and Mendez Organic Farm participated in the B2B, with MSMEs generating booked sales.

The event was attended by 265 participants from the private sector, non-government organizations, government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Statistics Authority, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Coconut Authority, Office Provincial Agriculturist of Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, and Quezon, Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development, DOST- Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Philippine Commission on Women, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., financial institution such as the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the academe such as the Cavite State University.

Using the industry cluster approach, the DTI aims to build more alliances with relevant agencies and institutions to develop competitive and innovative SMEs, implement program for productivity and efficiency, and create conducive business enabling environment. The clustering process necessitates the operation of upstream (raw material suppliers, production inputs) and downstream (logistics, value adding, packaging, and marketing) economic activities to support the whole value-chain.♦

Date of Release: 14 August 2019