TO DEVELOP and come up with more products that will represent Mindanao's world-class craftsmanship, the organizer of the Mindanao Trade Expo (MTE) 2010 is visiting a number of producers all over the island-region.

MTE Foundation Inc. (MTEFI), the expo organizer, is optimistic that through the product development activities conducted in Mindanao's major cities, such as Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Butuan, producers will be more prepared to meet new buyers and expand their market reach. The trainings started in June until July this year.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

MTEFI president and MTE 2010 chair Ann T. Pamintuan said their visit to various areas in Mindanao gave them and the participants the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to improve existing products especially that a consultant has been hired to be in these interactions.

"These roadshows are not just mere visits. These are being done to let the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) get advices on how to improve each other's products and even make some value adding to these. With the help of the consultant, the participants are properly guided on how to execute the innovations," she said.

Mae Braceros-Alcantara of Crystal Seas Handwoven and Handcrafted Products based in Davao City said product development trainings have helped them improve their products. Crystal Seas is a producer of bags, shawls, and fashion accessories made of indigenous materials such as T'nalak cloth, bamboo, romblon leaves, among others.

Alcantara said by improving products, an entrepreneur's chance of finding new and bigger markets becomes higher.

"When you offer world class products, you get the interest of institutional buyers," Alcantara said.

Furthermore, Pamintuan said world-class products can be equated to better pricing.

"When you have best quality products, you can demand for better price, simply because your products are one-of-a-kind," she said.

The product development trainings were participated in by the 100 exhibitors who will be showcasing products ranging from gifts, toys and housewares (GTH) to fashion accessories and processed food during the MTE 2010 slated on August 19 to 22 at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Convention Hall in Davao City.

The 14th MTE, which is an accredited event of Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival, is presented by the Philippine Exporters' Confederation (PhilExport) National and Davao, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Export Development Council (EDC), and Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid).