The Department of Trade and Industry Region 02 (DTI- R02) took another big leap in industry development as it held another first time activity in the entire Cagayan Valley. After the successful launch of the 1st Dairy Business Conference in 2014 (4th this year), the 1st Cacao Business Forum in 2016 (2nd this year) and the 1st Business Forums for Coffee and Bamboo this year, DTI-Region 02 conducted the 1st Processed Fruits and Nuts Business Forum on October 17, 2017 at the Zen Hotel, Santiago City, Isabela. 

The activity is a welcome development for all stakeholders as they are set to strengthen the industry in various aspects. Aptly themed “Reshaping the Processed Fruits and Nuts Cluster to a Greener and Safer Industry”, the forum gathered around 170 participants from all over the region.  It also was highlighted by product and technology exhibits by nine (9) local MSMEs and seven (7) service providers in the country. 

Hon. Joseph Tan, Municipal Mayor of Santiago City warmly welcomed all participants and guests of the business forum and expressed his delight and pride to host the activity and take part in the activities of the DTI, which he believes are the driving factors of socio-economic growth in the region. 

For her part, Keynote Speaker Virginia dela Fuente, President of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc., inspired the participants through sharing new technologies that would really address the requirements of the industry. Specifically, she emphasized on individual quick freezing as a new method to preserve food-based commodities. She also presented strategies that could spur the development of the sector while giving a strong conviction that Region 02 has so much potential for the sector considering its abundance of varied of fruits and nuts. 

Regional Director Linda Boniao of DTI-Region 10, the National Coordinator of the PFN Industry, also graced the event. She congratulated Region 02 for initiating the forum even without a national roadmap yet which is being worked out in the national level. She discussed the Outlook for Philippine Processed Fruits and Nuts in the domestic and international markets.

Other topics discussed were the following: Philippine Traceability System by Ms. Danica De Guzman, Business Development and Marketing Specialist of SGS Philippines, Inc.; Green Manufacturing Practices by Mr. Reynaldo Gil Lomarda, President of Greenminds, Inc.; and Food Guidance and Regulation by Ms. Shanida Joy Singson of the Food and Drugs Administration. Mr. Arturo Tabbu, chairman of the Regional PFN Cluster Team presented the resolution of the cluster identifying all possible strategies for the development of the sector in the region. 

In his closing message, OIC Regional Director Ruben Diciano of DTI Region 02 expressed his hopes that the industry will adhere to the three folds of development: social, economic and environment. He said that the real challenge lies on the ability of the region to mobilize resources driven by inputs and oriented towards demand, produced within the bounds of environmental limits.♦