Biz sector in Mindanao pushes three voluntary standards

AFTER the conduct of the series of training-workshops and consultations on Mindanao collective trademark (MCT), three dominant voluntary standards emerged as the most common interest of private sector, particularly the producers, an official said.

Stakeholders agreed the product with MCT must also be value-added, an indicator that it is also compliant to other international standards.

“After the series of consultations led by experts from European Union, it showed that the product must be value-added, meaning rather than just mere certification that it is a product from Mindanao it should also carry a certification that the product is also compliant and accredited to other international standards," Undersecretary Janet Lopez, also executive director of Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), said on Wednesday.

The dominant voluntary standards that stakeholders are interested to align the use of the MCT are: global gap, organic and halal and fair trade.

Lopoz said they are now set to meet with Control Union headquarters, Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB)- Department of Trade and Industry and Donors (GTZ) by the end of this month for possible collaboration for funding, capacity building and benchmarking.

“MCT is really very timely because time to time, the requirements of the international market are changing. Now they look for premium qualities, certification,” Lopoz said.

Control Union is an international certification company which carries more than 50 global standards.

She also said with the initial consultations, the European Union emerged as one of the potential export markets of the islands products.

“EU market, especially now that we have a very favorable arrangement with them. is a premium market so they look at more on the quality of the product. With this collective trademark, the EU market will have a sense of traceability to our products and they can guarantee that our products are of quality,” Lopoz earlier said.

The projects’ next step is debriefing of the program to stakeholders.
Also, as the collective mark will be technically assisted by the European Union-funded Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3, they will finalize the structure of MCT based on the results of the consultations.


“The structure should include, rules in using the mark as a collective mark that will function as a certification mark, organization of MCT core group and knowledge center, short and long termn plans and corresponding projects and the enhancement of the logo with a good tagline,” Lopoz said.

At present, the products and commodities that were identified that have competitive advantage are Cacao, Coconut and Coffee.

"We will do pilot testing first, identify prioritize products, at present the 3’s are in the list,” she said

“Before a certain product is granted with a MCT brand, companies have to follow the protocols,” she added.

A collective mark is a sign that distinguishes the geographical origin, material, mode of manufacture or other common characteristics of goods and services.

For each collective mark, accompanying regulations that govern its use are set and promulgated. The same regulations also see as protection of the collective marks.

The mark will serve as a symbol that embodies four essential factors – scale, quality, delivery and traceability. It is a voluntary standard that is seen to strengthen the enterprises and industries of Mindanao by ensuring their compliance with the demands of the world market.
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