EIGHTEEN producers from Negros Occidental are showcasing some of the best products of the province at the ongoing International Food Exposition (Ifex) Philippines 2019 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
The three-day international food trade exhibition organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (Citem) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) opened Friday, May 24.
In collaboration with other agencies including the Department of Agriculture (DA), IFEX is reputed as the premier business-to-business platform for local and international food companies to discover new markets, launch new products, and transact with the world’s biggest buyers.
The participating-producers from the province are Plantsville Health Products, Fresh Start Organics, Muy Bien Turmeric Teas, Sir Jess, Negros Island Organic Producers Association, Dolpings Tablea, L’ Negros, Sagay Central Inc., Option MPC, Ceres Pasalubong, Merczi, Virgie’s, El Ideal, Clara’s Food Products, Green Harvest, Satoca, Syara and Mumshie.
Joy Ogan, executive assistant to the Governor, said local exhibitors, through the Negros Pavilion, display herbs and spices, beverages, breads and pastries, condiments and savories.
Ogan said given that Negros Occidental is recognized as the organic capital of the country, there will also be an organic section consisting of organic rice, tablea, molasses and sugars, and salad greens.
“The famed Negros blue swimming crab will be exhibited at The Cold Room: Seafood at Sub-Zero where buyers can taste the freshness and superior quality of Philippine seafood,” she added.
Nine of the exhibitors are first-time participants including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are better positioned to gain CITEM endorsement to international food trade expositions and enter the export market.
“Ceres Pasalubong, Merczi, Green Harvest, Sagay Central Inc. together with IFEX returnees Option MPC and Muy Bien Ventures are envisaged in the coming years to be the key Negros-based players in the international food trade,” Ogan also said.
The provincial government allocated P650,000 to subsidize participation package including space, booth installation, furniture and fixture and freight costs of the exhibitors, she added.
Negros Occidental first joined IFEX in 2013 as the first province featured under the Partner Province Program.
For seven years now, the province consistently participated in the trade event bringing Negrense food products in various categories.
Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said the province’s participation at IFEX will further boost the local culinary tourism.
Mansinares said food is one of the strong tourism offerings of the province. In fact, tourists visit Negros Occidental because of its food.
“It will also link our participating SMEs to leading buyers around the world,” she added.
In 2018, 26 participating producers generated about P18 million in sales during the three-day exposition. The figure is five times higher than about P3 million with 12 participating enterprises in 2017.*