PRODUCERS in Negros Occidental are urged to continue aspiring for uniqueness in their products by sustaining that "touch" that is salient among Negrenses.
Arlene Infante, president of Association of Negros Producers (ANP), said the entry of more competitors in the local market has been challenging producers in the province.
Infante, however, said those who were able to keep certain standards like traditional enterprises including restaurants still thrived.
"They stick to their standards, they have not deviated from their roots," she said, adding that these local producers have maintained an identity where they are known to.
On May 22, ANP launched this year's Negros Trade Fair (NTF), the longest-running provincial trade fair in the Philippines.
Themed "Timeless Traditions," the 34th edition of the annual event will be held at Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City on September 25 to 29.
The organization said the trade fair will not only focus on selling Negrense products, but more on selling Negros itself.
The NTF will underscore the island's lifestyle, culture, land, people, stories and history.
"We will showcase the skills behind the products, crafts, recipes and traditions that are family-based and passed on from generation to generation," it said, adding that "the stories behind every product will make us the original and we will be sought for our authenticity."
Infante, at the sidelines of the launching, lauded the association and its members for sustaining NTF for over three decades.
Though, she pointed out the need for local producers to continue improving and innovating especially in terms of processing and packaging their products without sacrificing the "identity."
"Successful enterprises in the province have modernized particularly on how they manufacture their products through utilization of new technologies," Infante said, adding that "but the basic ingredients, the way to do it, the taste, and the looks are still the same."
The ANP official said Negrense products are known for its own "touch" which refers to the "drama and feel" that cannot be found in other goods.
Negrenses, she said, get their inspiration from natural materials but giving it their own identity. They give their own artistry to come up with something.
Infante also stressed that in order to maintain the edge amid the entry of Chinese and other foreign products, Negrenses producers have to continue coming up with something handmade and locally designed.
“Our talents, local art scene, movie makers and artists are known in Manila. We have artisan-members, they are also good with their hands and designs,” she said, adding that “we have to sustain our sense of touch, our sense of style that is making us standout from the rest.”