A WORLD-RENOWNED lifestyle designer is encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to produce “green” products that are gaining popularity in the international market these days.

Percy "PJ" Arañador, who is a consultant of the Mindanao Trade Expo Foundation, Inc. (MTEFI) for the conduct of the MTE 2010, said during the recently held product development seminar in Davao City that by producing "green" products, MSMEs will not just rake in income but as well as save the environment.

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"When you say green products, you only sell those that are organically-produced and are only made from sustainable raw materials," said Arañador whose designs have already been sold in markets such as USA., Canada Japan, France, Italy, Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Middle East, and Australia.

Arañador further pointed out that in producing the so-called green products, the Filipinos will have a greater advantage.

“In order to compete with the other producers in the world, let us use indigenous materials which are sustainable. If we use these types of raw materials, our sense of origin will be highlighted,” he said.

Moreover, Arañador said that products out of indigenous materials will likewise show the uniqueness of Filipinos’ craftsmanship.

In fact, he added, a number of international designers of famous expensive brands of bags have already incorporated "the touch of native Philippine raw materials" into their creations.

"High-end bags, as we can see, have the bayong-inspired designs. Chanel Spring 2011 collection of bags, for instance, is made of ‘bayong’ or Philippine fiber and leather while the handles are bamboo-inspired," he said.

Arañador said that this is a manifestation that indigenous materials from the Philippines are part of the trend in the world trading arena nowadays.

Thus, this opportunity must really be fully maximized by the Filipino producers.

Meanwhile, MTEFI president Ann T. Pamintuan said that the Filipino touch is not only seen in bags but also in fashion accessories and furniture pieces.

"We must not be limited to bags. There are other products which we can make use of our indigenous materials. We may want to design fashion accessories and furniture made of coconut shells, bamboo, or any other. We just have to let our creativity flow," said Pamintuan who is a fashion accessory and furniture designer herself.

The product development seminar conducted by Arañador is in preparation for the MTE 2010 to be staged on August 19 to 22 at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Convention Hall in Davao City. This is an accredited event of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival.

The MTE 2010 is presented by the MTEFI, Philippine Exporters' Confederation, Inc. 11, Export Development Council, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and Growth with Equity in Mindanao Program of the United States Agency for International Development.