Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez on Monday (20 December) assured micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of the government’s commitment to provide better market access for MSMEs by mainstreaming their products in commercial establishments, particularly those from the agriculture sector.

Speaking at the Christmas Townhall with President Rodrigo Duterte: Negosyo para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu at the Malacañan Palace, Sec. Lopez also urged businessmen to continue helping the government beat poverty in the country anew.

“Our call for today, to celebrate inclusive business, is to provide continuous market access for the products of MSMEs, especially in the agriculture sector,” Lopez told President Duterte and representatives of the business sector.

To usher this initiative, DTI tapped mall chains to provide commercial spaces, where MSME products from around the country can be purchased by mall-goers.

“In DTI, we commit to mainstream the products of MSMEs, we‘ve had the cooperation of SM, Ayala, Robinson’s, Rustan’s, City Mall, Star Mall  and even Puregold, and many retailers to allocate a specific place in their malls for free to mainstream and made available the products of our MSMEs,” Sec. Lopez explained.

With the “Go Lokal” stores stationed at mall-chains, agricultural products, including those from Sulu, will become a regular fixture in malls, according to him.

“It’s a model that can really provide sustainable market for our agriculture sector, especially our poor farmers,” Sec. Lopez added.

Meanwhile, the trade chief also reported that the government, through the Office of the President, will shell out an initial P1 billion financing to provide for micro and small entrepreneurs.

“The promise of the President is to provide P1 billion per region to help really the start ups,” he said. The budget will be coursed through DTI.