THE Municipal Government of San Enrique and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has opened the Otop (One Town, One Product) Store Express seen to boost food processors in the locality.
DTI-Negros Occidental Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist Engiemar Tupas, who led the opening rites at the town on Monday, July 8, said the project is funded under the bottom-up budgeting (BUB) program of the agency.
Tupas said the mobile-designed "pasalubong" center showcases the products of 21 food processors, mostly women, of San Enrique.
They are members of the Association of San Enrique Food Processors, who form part of the first and second batches of recipients of various interventions initiated by the DTI.
"The planning for the project actually started since 2016. The agency then has worked on organizing the association," he said, adding that the store will complement the efforts to sustain the marketability of the members' products.
In 2017, DTI-Negros Occidental provided product development training to local food processors.
The training, which was in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Negros Occidental, is aimed at equipping them with skills to develop their products mainly through having good packaging and labeling.
Among other interventions of the DTI, still in partnership with the DOST, included the distribution of packaging and labeling materials in 2018.
The store currently lodged at the municipal hall in Barangay Poblacion is managed by the member-processors.
Tupas said this is to capacitate and empower them, adding that the local government is planning to eventually make it as a food truck "pasalubong" center.
"The mobile store concept will further enable the member-processors to showcase their products during big events in the locality," he said.
Once materialized, it will be the first food truck or mobile "pasalubong" center in Negros Occidental, Tupas added.
Most of the products displayed at the Otop Store Express are wide-variety of native delicacies like baye-baye, bitso-bitso, kalamay hati, fresh lumpia, and buko pie, among others.
The DTI said its services will not stop in providing trainings on marketing, marketing management, product development, good manufacturing practices and food safety.
To sustain their market, the agency will link member-processors to big food establishments in the province especially Bacolod City.
Tupas said these bigger showrooms will source out the products and possibly carry the labels of San Enrique processors.
"Our assistance will continue to ensure that they will continue to develop their products," he said, adding that in fact they are about to implement a packaging and labeling training for another batch of recipient-entrepreneurs in the town.
Meanwhile, also present during the activity are local government officials led by Mayor Jilson Tubillara.