NEGROS Occidental's participation at the just-concluded International Food Exposition (IFEX) Philippines 2019 has yielded positive results especially on obtaining global market opportunities for local products.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., along with other Provincial Government officials including Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, was able to meet potential buyers for United States and Mexico markets at the sidelines of the three-day event held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City which concluded Sunday, May 26.
Joy Ogan, executive assistant to the governor, said the interests are into agricultural products like muscovado sugar, coconut products, banana sticks, banana marble, fresh bananas, and pineapple, among others.
Ogan said the province was encouraged to improve the packaging to ensure food safety standards and obtain certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"Upon returning to the province from IFEX, we will organize workshops with the exhibitors to identify producer-specific needs and craft individualized development and business plans," Ogan said.
This will address issues from production, processing, packaging and marketing, an effort to effectively systematize the province's program on enterprise development with the goal to make local products globally competitive, she added.
Displaying local products like herbs and spices, beverages, breads and pastries, organic produce, condiments and savories, 18 producers from Negros Occidental joined IFEX Philippines 2019.
IFEX was organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
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.
During the event, Marañon also met with executives of Control Union that focuses on agricultural certifications.
The company also covers the supply chain in agriculture, energy, forestry, sustainability, and textiles in more than 70 countries.
Provincial Supervising Tourism Operations officer Cristine Mansinares, who was also at the event, said Control Union is an accredited international inspection and certification body by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
It issues GSTC certification to tourism enterprises for sustainable tourism compliance.
Mansinares said that apart from the environmental impact, GSTC also measures the business' relationship with the community, respect of traditional cultural heritage and opportunities for local employment.
"Through IFEX, we could really be able to link our participating enterprises to leading buyers around the world," she reiterated.