THE Zamboanga Peninsula micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) core group is set to conduct a five-day One Town, One Product (Otop) caravan.

Nazrullah Manzur, Zamboanga Peninsula Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) director, said the caravan will commence on Monday and ends on July 23.

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Manzur said the core group is composed of 24 member-agencies of government actively involved in the promotion and development of the region's MSMEs with DTI as the lead agency.

It serves as the umbrella organization that harmonizes and ensures convergence of services of the different agencies of government tasked with the region's MSME development, particularly those classified under the Otop category, Manzur said.

He said the caravan is a strategy adopted by the core group since 2007 as a vehicle to bring the core group's services direct to the MSMEs in the different cities and provinces of Zamboanga Peninsula.

He said that a total of 110 MSMEs are targeted for assistance this year.

He said the assistance rendered by the group to the MSMEs are in the form of technology and skills trainings, access to financing, access to marketing, and product clinic and development.

The caravan also provides MSMEs the opportunity to have a one-on-one consultation with the agencies for his or her particular concern, according to Manzur.

Manzur said the expected output of the caravan includes improved quality and productivity, improved production process and technology, increased access to financing and markets, and improved business environment for the assisted MSMEs.

Manzur said the first stop of the caravan is in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay on July 19. Then the group will proceed to Pagadian and conduct the sessions on July 21.

The last leg will be in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte on July 23 before the group returns to Zamboanga City the following day.

Inquiries about the Otop caravan may be referred to Ahmadsata Jain, chief of the Business Development Division of the DTI Zamboanga Peninsula office, Manzur said. (Bong Garcia)