Saturday, September 21, 2019

Gearing-up for Green Businesses

Baguio City - About a hundred entrepreneurs from the six Cordillera provinces and this city attended the Green Business Forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry-CAR and the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) with speakers from attached bureaus, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a practitioner of organic farming.

The forum which was meant to prepare MSMEs to engage in green manufacturing for the so-called “Green Products” or “Green Food” tackled and discussed various topics such as exporting, green business and healthy living, upcycling, design, food, fashion, lifestyle and need to comply with certain regulatory requirements.

DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo warmly welcomed the forum speakers and participants and challenged the later to go global with environmentally friendly and healthy foods mentioning the recently held training on Halal as part of the services offered by the government. She likewise emphasized that greening the environment is “the call of the times and should be given importance and urgency by our SMEs in CAR who should have a mindset of production and consumption sustainability”.

Export Counselor Rogelio Torre of EMB discussed how his office can help MSMEs explore direct sales promotion through business matching and facilitation of exporters who plan to meet foreign buyers. Torre added that his office handles inquiries from international importer and exporters and they facilitate outbound and inbound business missions for exporters who plan to visit a particular target market.

The EMB Export Counselor answered questions raised by the participants and further elaborated on the methods that foreign buyers utilize to pay products including tips on choosing a courier and foreign forwarder.

EMB’s Emerging Products Division Assistant Chief Alegria Donado introduced the concept of Green Business Certification that came about in the wake of the ever increasing public concern about the deteriorating natural resources.

Emphasizing the need to sustain resources for future generations, Donado cited adaptive measures and simple ways to green a business by eliminating plastic bottles, changing bulbs, recycling and reusing and “making green thinking a part of your company culture”.

On the topic of Organic Certification, Control Union-Philippines Program Officer Vincigwenn Cañedo cited the advantage of having certified organic products as there is a big market for it in foreign countries. There is a huge demand for green certified products and those bearing a quality seal are widely accepted globally Cañedo said.

Passionately sharing his experiences to the participants, Engr. Guillermo Saret of the National Organic Agriculture Board discussed the concepts and benefits of organic agriculture that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people to benefit the shared environment. The owner of Saret Organic Farmville, Saret also emphasized the need to sustain people, planet and prosperity mentioning his four principles of organic agriculture namely, health, ecology, fairness and care.

For her part, Division Chief Rowena Mendoza of the Center for International Trade Exposition Mission (CITEM) introduced the “Green Food Asia 2020” following the successes of its International Food Exhibition (IFEX) events held at the World Trade Center in Metro Manila. As a representative of the export promotion arm of DTI, she also encouraged the participants to be part of the upcoming events of Manila Fame international shows for design, food, fashion and lifestyle.

Andrew delos Reyes and Geonna Marice Santos, both Food and Drug Regulation Officers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussed how MSMEs can obtain a license to operate (LTO) and a certificate of product registration (CPR) from FDA as a requirement to ensure legal compliance for importation, exportation, and distribution of their products.

A focus group discussion ensued and the participants requested DTI-CAR and its attached bureaus to continually mentor Cordillera MSMEs to improve competitiveness through innovation, think global, think Asean while going local.

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