INCOMING Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Mindanao Collective Trademark (MCT) system can be replicated nationwide.

The MCT, an initiative by the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) supported by the European Union (EU) Trade Related Technical Assistance 3 (TRTA 3), was launched Tuesday at Park Inn by Radisson, Davao City.

"This (MCT) system is a good initiative and in the right direction to push our local products to have that market value in the local and international market, this will encourage more buyers to our products and increase sales and income especially to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)," Lopez said.

"If it can be done in Mindanao, why not do it in the whole country?"he added.

The MCT system has been set up to represent Mindanao and its products as they compete in the global markets envisioning to promote Mindanao’s quality products as certified according to recognized global Voluntary Standards (VS).

Minda chair Secretary Luwalhati Antonino said that the next challenge to MCT is the promotion.

“We have to establish the fact that anything in Mindanao, when it comes to food products, you are safe and will get your money’s worth,” she said.

She emphasized that they will use the internet to intensify promotions.

Also, a series of capacity building seminars will be staged.

Access on financing by SMES through partnering with government banks is also in the pipeline.

Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) chair, Vicente Lao said that the system will bring back the golden age of Mindanao especially in terms of producing quality agriculture products.

European Ambassador Franz Jessen said that they are willing to help the Philippines and its export industry increase productivity.

Ambasssador Jessen also said that to be able to carry out common promotion of high quality Mindanao products, there should be an increase of the products, “and to make sure that the consumers understand what the product is all about”.

The participating companies that intend to adapt the MCT system are based in prioritized industries including banana, cacao, poultry, coconut, tuna, sardines and organic.

The head organization which will serve as the umbrella of the MSMEs for the MCT system include Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association, Inc. (MBFEA), Cacao Industry Development Association Of Mindanao, Inc. (Cidami), Franklin Baker Group, Soccsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industry, Inc., Sardine Canners of Zamboanga, Bios Dynamis Coop., and Maharlika Ventures.

Some of the initial Voluntary Standards identified are GlobalGap, Organic (EU Organic, Jas, USDA), Halal, Utz among others.

The companies that will bear first the MCT will be Maharlika Ventures, Tadeco, Chokolate de San Isidro and Bios Dyanmis as they already have third party, international voluntary standards recognized globally.

Products that will be marked with MCT will automatically mean that it is aligned with global standards and produced in Mindanao.

MCT on product labels will not be used as stand-alone, but would be accompanied by logos of other Voluntary Standards as well as that of the company producing the goods.

The MCT system is composed of decision body and a knowledge center.

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.” (with Lyka Amethyst Casamayor and Viel Elysse Cansino, MSU and UPMin interns)