BEFORE a big trade show kicks off next year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hopes to update those under the One Town, One Product (Otop) program with trends on design and color before the year ends.

Dr. Elias Tecson, chief of DTI Cebu’s business development division, said they will be holding information sessions on color trends and product design in early December.

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The sessions are meant to help local manufacturers in the towns showcase new products and designs in the National Trade Fair to be held in Manila in March.

Tecson said that if the municipalities can introduce new products, they can penetrate the export market.

“Most of those in the towns are not aware what the trends are abroad,” he said.

He said they want to conduct regular sessions to update manufacturers on trends so they can also update their designs to meet demands abroad.

He said they will be coordinating with the Bureau of Export Trade and Promotions and the Bureau of Domestic Trade so they can hold information sessions for those under the program.

He said that in Barili, which is known for making woven bags locally called the bayong, people came up with other uses of the bayong apart from being a bag used to hold items bought at the market.

Changing a bayong’s colors, style and adding embellishments makes it a fashion bag.

Aside from Barili, he also said they will also update footwear makers in Carcar with new styles in shoes so they can also compete in the market.

Tecson said they were able to guide the Carcar United Footwear Manufacturers Inc. in planning their businesses. The agency also introduced to them the concept of buying raw materials in bulk. With this, he said they were able to save 40 percent in material cost.

Otop is a government program meant to promote a specific product or service in a municipality, making use of an area’s indigenous raw materials and the skills of the locals that have been handed down from one generation to the next.

Tecson said the local government units take the lead in promoting their town’s main product or service.

Before the national trade fair, Tecson said they also hope to promote the products at the Otop Visayas Island Fair.

Next month, Tecson said they will also be holding seminars on branding and will have resource persons from the Intellectual Property Office lead the discussions.

He hopes this would lead to products being identified as coming from specific towns, such as Argao, which is famous for its torta.