By Pauline Joy M. Gutierrez
THE second edition of Philippine Harvest featured organic products in support of the local farmers in the three-day agricultural food fair held recently again at Central Square in Bonifacio Global City.
The Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the SSI Group, introduced a lineup of exhibitors who presented their local products to the market, the event succeeding the fruitful launch of the first Philippine Harvest in May.
“We [the SSI and the Rustan’s Group of Companies] have always taken pride in bringing the best of the world to the Filipino consumers, and we’ve always done so by promoting international brands and the like. Given how Philippine products have evolved in the recent past, combined with its potential quality which is on a par with international standards, we really want to find a way to be able to promote our local produce, in particular,” said Anthony Huang, SSI president, elaborating on the Philippine Harvest campaign.
He added, “The Department of Agriculture works with many of these farmers who grow organic products and homegrown crops. All they needed, really, was a venue and a suitable environment to showcase their products to the right market, and that’s where we show our support to the farmers and the government agency.”
The food fair included products like artisanal ice creams, coconut products, bio-functional juice drinks, teas made with local ingredients such as lagundi, dairy products and chocolates made with the region’s finest cacaos, to name a few. Along with this display of native goods were organic, heirloom and indigenous rice and grain varieties taken from various parts of the country.
For the second edition, the food range was expanded to include and highlight Philippine spirits, a wide variety of local wines and liqueurs made from tropical fruits, honey and rice.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who was on hand for the fair, said with enthusiasm that he will be the “No. 1 salesman in offering [these] local produce” to the local and global markets.
According to Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, agriculture undersecretary for Special Concerns and chairman of the National Organic Agricultural Board, Philippine Harvest is a perfect avenue for consumers to be introduced to the organic producers, as well as the Philippine food products.
When asked about the ongoing plans of Stores Specialists Inc. to curate another exhibit, seeing that the first two were very well-received by the public, Huang said, “We’re still in discussions with the Department of Agriculture but, hopefully, we can plan something for this year again, as the market really looks forward to it. We’re hoping that we can do something next month or the months after that.”