THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu is earmarking P49.264 million this year to launch new and upgrade existing shared service facilities (SSF) in the province.
DTI Cebu Director Esperanza Melgar said the amount will finance the launch of 12 SSFs and upgrade six existing ones.
SSF addresses the gaps and bottlenecks in the value chain of priority industry clusters by providing equipment for common use of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
SSF is typically given over for use to cooperatives, including farmers, small-scale food processors or other entities engaged in light industries to improve their productivity or add value to their output and help them increase their income and tap new markets.
At the start of the year, Melgar said DTI Cebu has established three new SSFs with a total equipment cost of P6.361 million.
DTI established a facility for tubo juice processing in San Remigio valued at P1.387 million. This SSF will be managed by the Batad Small Farmers Association (Basfa).
Basfa is a group of marginalized farmers primarily engaged in corn crops, vegetables and backyard livestock. It was organized in 2004 with 99 household members.
According to DTI Cebu, the SSF can help farmers address the growing demand for sugarcane drinks, both in the local and overseas markets. The slow production process, however, hindered them to cope with the increasing demand. With the SSF in place, the farmers eye beach resorts in San Remigio as the primary target, as well as the growing health-conscious community.
Moreover, a facility on product packaging, design and printing was also turned over to the Cebu Technological University (CTU)-Main Campus worth P2.5 million.
DTI Cebu, likewise, established a facility on cassava product processing in San Francisco, Camotes Islands, with equipment cost amounting to P2.5 million that will be managed by the Camotes Multi-purpose Cooperative.
The cooperative’s core business activities include agri-financing, cassava production and marketing, cacao production, coconut growing and production, organic farming, lease of farm equipment and cargo vehicles, and providing capacity building training and programs for its member farmers.
The SSF on cassava products processing will benefit 500 members and 1,000 farmers.
DTI has proposed a P7 billion budget for 2019, of which P4 billion will be allotted for MSME development, an improvement from its P2.25 billion budget in 2018.
But Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said at least P10 billion must be allocated for MSMEs if the government wants the sector to boost its presence in the global supply chain.
Philexport earlier said the lack of access to investment capital remains the biggest hindrance to innovation among MSMEs, according to the group’s recent survey.
The online survey on innovation practices of MSMEs conducted in December 2018 showed that nearly half or 48.1 percent of 24 respondents said they were hampered by the lack of access to funding capital to elevate their innovation level and increase their competitiveness.
Besides the lack of access to capital, two other identified barriers to innovation were the lack of access to human capital or technologically literate workers, and lack of access to physical capital or the needed modern technologies.
“Our MSMEs have the determination to innovate; they just do not have enough access to resources and opportunities to help them discover the type of innovation that will be fit for their company,” noted the report.
Forty-eight percent of the surveyed companies listed gaining access to capital and investment as the top support they needed to pursue innovation while 31 percent said they needed assistance to venture into new markets and value chains.