ON AUGUST 23, 2019, the Department of Trade and Industry opened its One Town One Product (Otop) Hub Philippines at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (Davao Airport).
“The intention of Otop is to give another platform for the MSMEs to market their product. Unlike Go Lokal where products are already high-end, we would like [to give opportunity also to] new products here which are not yet that advanced in terms of packaging and others. We want to help them,” DTI-Davao director Maria Belenda Ambi said.
This is a nice move from the government and its partners. Without a doubt, there are a number of quality products that are coming from MSMEs. However, despite the digital age, they still lack a decent avenue to market the products. At least with the Otop Hub, travelers will be able to see their products before they leave Davao City.
The Philippine government through DTI has provided much needed support to the MSMEs. It is not only DTI that has program for MSMEs but other government agencies like the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Agriculture which also have programs that may assist, develop, and nurture MSMEs.
Trade exhibits organized by DTI and other private institutions have also played a major role in terms of the visibility of products by MSMEs. Negosyo Centers, on the other hand, have provided MSMEs much needed knowledge and skills to upgrade.
The different programs and projects have clearly benefitted a number of MSMEs in the country. Here in Davao City, we have recently seen the rise of MSMEs whose products are being patronized by both locals and tourists.
At present, government support for many MSMEs has been sufficient and it is commendable what they have done for many enterprises. However, MSMEs still lack the support of the local market as a whole.
Maybe we can attribute this to the lack of marketing avenues for MSMEs as to where they can display their products. Another reason could be that not many are aware of these products of MSMEs or there is still that perception of seeing Filipino products as “inferior”.
While the government is very supportive of developing MSMEs, the market must also patronize Filipino products, whether they are a start-up or not. Not many know that there are amazing products by local enterprises that are comparable and unique to those found in the international scene.
It is also through patronizing our local MSMEs that we will be able to push them to become better and competitive. Let us support our local products and in turn support our local economy.