THE Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) conducted an information session in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, from October 1 to 3 at the Grand Palace Hotel.
The seminar, under the Philippine Export Competitiveness Program (PECP), was attended by more than 100 participants composed of exporters, business support organizations, Negosyo Center counselors, other government offices and entrepreneurs in the Caraga region.
The PECP is an EMB umbrella program that aims to boost the competitive stance of exporters, prospective exporters, and stakeholders through the conduct of information sessions, seminars and other learning activities. For this session, guest speakers from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Mindanao Trade Expo (MTE) Foundation, the Philippine Palm Oil Development Council Inc. (PPDCI), start-up company eCFulfill and DTI-EMB discussed various topics relevant to the Caraga region.
DTI-EMB’s Patricia Blacer of the Export Assistance and Business Matching Division started the series of discussions by giving a background on the services offered by DTI-EMB, as well as an overview of basic export procedures and documentations.
Meanwhile, Senior Trade-Industry Development Specialist Frederick Etrata of the Knowledge Processing Division introduced Tradeline Philippines, EMB’s interactive business intelligence platform. A live demonstration of the web site’s features was also conducted to familiarize the audience on the integrated information retrieval features of the site on import and export trade statistics, market and product information, as well as supplier and buyer databases.
Chief Fishing Regulations Officer Consuelo Baltazar of BFAR’s Fisheries Post Harvest Technology Division presented the opportunities available for aquamarine exports. She discussed the major fisheries exports and markets of the Philippines, as well as the priority commodities identified by BFAR which includes bangus, tilapia, shrimp, shellfish and seaweed. Further, legal frameworks for the trade of fishery products, common requirements of major seafood trading partners of the Philippines, as well as the services offered by BFAR to aquamarine enterprises was also tackled during the discussion.
Raul Nuevas, member of PPDCI’s technical working group, presented the opportunities that could be reaped from the Philippine palm-oil industry. He discussed the features and benefits of palm oil, said to be among the most competitive and most efficient vegetable oil due to its variety of uses and high global demand. Nuevas’s presentation also highlighted the increasing demand for palm oil in the country and the national shortage which is currently being addressed through importation. PPDCI forecasts that by year 2022, the Philippines’s palm-oil import could reach up to P27.26 million, despite the fact that out of the Philippines’s more than 1 million hectares of potential land area, only 54,748 hectares are actually being utilized for palm plantations.
Lezlie Bermudez Lu, proprietress of Chen Marine Products in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, shared her company’s success story. Her testimonial narrated how their small enterprise blossomed into one of the leading aquamarine exporters in the Caraga region. Chen Marine now exports seafood products, such as shrimp, cuttlefish, and large-head hairtail to China and Taiwan. Lu encouraged fellow entrepreneurs in Caraga to continue to innovate, find opportunities in high-value products, and be patient and determined to succeed in their business.
MTE Foundation designer Carmaela Alcantara talked about emerging trends in wearables and homestyle export. According to recent studies of design movements, trends such as sustainable fashion, eco-conscious crafts, basket décor, wicker bags made of natural fibers, ethnic fashion, use of indigenous materials, and movements, such as “pride in my tribe” are some of the current trends in today’s global scene. Alcantara invited Filipino artisans to find ways to incorporate these trends in their crafts and explore how the Philippines’s rich indigenous artistry can be integrated in their culture-conscious designs.
Meanwhile, Ghian Marucot, co-founder and COO of online fulfillment partner eCFulfill, introduced the various e-commerce and online marketing platforms available for aspiring retailers. Marucot discussed how the Internet changed the marketing landscape and how even small enterprises can now sell internationally through e-commerce sites, with the proper promotion of their products. Currently, there are two kinds of e-commerce sites sellers can utilize: one are marketplaces, such as Lazada, Shopee, Amazon and eBay, while the other are own-store pages in Facebook, WordPress and Shopify. Marucot also noted that apart from online platforms, online payment solutions such as Payoneer, Xend and Dragonpay are now available to simplify e-commerce transactions.
An open forum followed the presentations, facilitated by DTI-Caraga for the audience to ask questions and interact with the resource speakers. One of the concerns raised by a participant was fish-harvesting sanitation and the high contamination level in the Agusan River. This was answered by the local BFAR office that enumerated inter-agency efforts being undertaken to address the river pollution. Many participants were also interested to get some tips on how they can sell their products in international online marketplaces.