THE Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) bared Wednesday more businss groups and organizations have expressed willingness to adopt the Mindanao Collective Trademark (MCT), a system designed to augment the competitiveness of Mindanao products and strengthen the agri-value chain.

MCT is set to be launched on Monday at the Park Inn by Radisson in Lanang, Davao City.

Industry groups and organizations, especially small medium enterprises (SMEs) that will adopt the system and have the trademark be carried in their products will automatically mean that its products are aligned with the recognized global Voluntary Standards of their preference and that it is produced in Mindanao.

Sheila May Almasa of Minda-Policy Formulation Division assisting the MCT system Knowledge Center said Wednesday at Habi at Kape at Abreeza Mall Davao, the Cacao Industry Development Association in Mindanao, Inc (Cidami), Philippine Export (PhilExport) Confederation, Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) and Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (Tadeco) along with some 10 MSME showed interest to be part of the new system.

"The system set to be launched on Monday has two components, the decision body and the knowledge Center," she said.

Minda is supported by the European Union (EU)-PH Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3 (TRTA3) and some other private stakeholde1rs.

The decision body will be composed of Minda, PhilExport, MinBC and industry representatives while the Knowledge Center will be comprised of the academe especially the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), industry groups, non-government organizations (NGOs) and private firms.

A Knowledge Center on voluntary standards and Best management practices, which will be housed, managed and financed by Minda will "provide support to the private sector in adapting their management practices to standards set out in a selected number of VS and to prepare them (through pre-auditing) for auditing and certification."

For a company to be allowed to use the trademark, one must inscribe with the Knowledge center, specify which voluntary standard and prove production in the island, put in management practices as assisted by the KC until pre-audit and lastly be audited and certified by a third party certifier.

"The collective trademark is expected to give, especially our Mindanao's Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) better opportunities and market leveraging in the local, regional and international trade. This endeavor is in line with the government's overall efforts to achieve economic development, inclusive growth and poverty reduction in Mindanao and in the Philippines," Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, Minda's chairperson said in a press statement.

With the official launching of MCT, formal organization and finalization of the structure of MCT based on the results of the consultations will be undertaken.

Also, finalization of the VS that will be included in MCT is expected to be laid out on the launching. Some of the emerging VS during the series of consultations and training-workshops late last year and early this year are Global Gap, Organic, MSC, Halal, Fairtrade, among others.

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen Ambassador will be the keynote speaker in light of the assistance provided by the EU-PH Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3 for Minda to establish MCT. (ASP)