Ilocos Norte products export-ready: DTI

LAOAG CITY — A good number of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Ilocos Norte are already export-ready, a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) official said Wednesday.

Maricor Racela, Senior Trade Industry Development Specialist and Trade Promotions Officer of the DTI Ilocos Norte said several homegrown entrepreneurs to the recent 2019 Trade Mission to the Philippines of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (FCCH), held at the Viven Hotel in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte on October 22, are now excited to showcase their products in Hawaii by July next year.

During a 10-day trade mission of the FCCH to Manila, Clark, Tarlac, Candon, Vigan and Laoag from October 12 to 22, the Hawaii delegates led by Rep. John Mizuno, Joselito Jimeno, Philippine Consul General of Hawaii Joselito Jimeno and Dr. Nancy Atmospera-Walch, president of FCCH, were impressed by the country’s unique products which include food and non-food items.

In Ilocos Norte, the DTI Ilocos Norte Provincial Office in coordination with the municipal government of San Nicolas led by Mayor Alfredo Valdez organized a trade exhibit where the less than 20 delegates from Hawaii had first-hand interaction with at least 16 selected micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs in the province.

“Each of the participating MSMEs was given time to present their products to the delegates for them to actually see, taste and feel their products,” said Racela as she hopes there will be a reverse of this kind in Hawaii trade show next year.

“The FCCH delegates through their president, Dr. Walch were very insistent of the province to attend the trade show in Hawaii in July next year and they assured us to send their invitation. This will be government-to-government activity for our MSMEs,” Racela said.

 Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Marcos-Araneta who also welcomed the Hawaiian delegation in a courtesy visit at the Capitol said the provincial government is supportive of this move to boost the MSMEs in Ilocos Norte.

The DTI has identified several homegrown enterprises, which are currently exporting their products outside the country.

Included among them are Cormel Foods in Laoag City which supplies ‘sukang Iloco’ vinegar in the United States, particularly in California, Guam, and Hawaii and in parts of Canada.

Mango King dried mangoes owned by Laoag businessman Ricardo Tolentino is already supplying Hawaii since June 2019. Last October 5-7, 2019, the Mango King dried mangoes also joined the ANUGA Fair, the world’s biggest food fair in Cologne, Germany.

Meanwhile, the “abel” or handwoven cloth of the Nagbacalan Loom Weavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Paoay, Ilocos Norte had also established a market in London while other MSMEs are also becoming aggressive and willing to comply with the requirements of the US market.

“Their mindset is already global and they are doing everything to qualify for the international standards,” said Racela as she underscored the DTI has export pathway programs to develop and guide the MSMEs toward their goals,” she said.

However, she noted that the challenge for food and non-food products in the province is still on how to come up with good packaging and to sustain eco-friendly practice in their production.

“On food, we have a limited number of those who have product registration certificates,” she added.  Leilanie Adriano / PNA –