Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sandugo expo highlights ‘green opportunity’

Sandugo expo highlights ‘green opportunity’
By Katlene O. Cacho
Sun.Star Cebu
July 21, 2011

TAGBILARAN CITY – The week-long celebration of the Sandugo Trade Expo 2011 that opened yesterday highlighted not only green products but also opened opportunities for local suppliers to forge linkages with local tourism establishments, officials said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 said this year’s trade exhibition will focus on the tourism industry as possible market for local players.

“What makes the expo different this year is that we have lined up activities which would help strengthen the products and services of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are also showcasing new and innovative ‘green products’ for the growing green market,” DTI 7 director Asteria Caberte said in a press conference at the Island City Mall.

The Sandugo Trade Expo, which runs from July 20 to 24 at the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City, will highlight world class product lines in handicraft, processed food, fashion accessories, gifts, decors and houseware.

The expo carries the theme “Greening Business, Wining Markets.”

DTI Bohol Director Maria Elena Arbon said 85 exhibitors joined this year’s expo. Other activities include corporate social responsibility in Bohol food and tourism sectors, SME summit and the green growth awareness day for local SMEs.

“We are looking at selling our products not only to the export market but also to the tourism and tourism establishments. We would like to influence resort owners to make use of our local materials, which are also competitive with imported products in terms of quality and pricing,” Caberte said.

“In this way, we are not only helping the environment but also helping our fellow Filipinos because of the jobs we create,” she added.

Caberte said a market encounter activity will be organized for the SMEs so they could network with potential buyers.

Aside from tapping the tourism market, German Development Corporation (GIZ) program manager for Private Sector Promotion (SMEDSEP) Program Volker Steigerwald said partner agencies like them would also push SMEs to develop green products for the growing green economy.

“We have come up with SME development strategy in partnership with the DTI which would strongly push for the creation of green products,” he said.

Caberte said they would like to enhance the competitiveness of the SMEs in the Visayas.

“Although going green is an uphill climb as the process is expensive, it has to be emphasized that there is a market outside and inside of the country for those businesses going in the green lane production,” she said.

Caberte cited Europe as a good market for green products and said many Cebuano exporters have already started employing green technology in their supply chain management. She cited the allocation of big hectares for planting trees as one form of green advocacy adopted by some exporters.

“Adopting green initiatives in the production is already a requirement by some buyers,” she said.

While there are lot of SMEs now employing green technology in business, Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Marietta Gasatan said local SMEs still need more inputs to sustain the initiative. She said that SMEs in Bohol in particular are now maximizing the use of technology to reduce carbon footprint.

DTI 7 said last year’s trade fair held in Dao, Bohol posted total sales of P27.95 million. Total cash sales were pegged at P2.96 million, booked orders amounted to P12.16 million, while sales under negotiation hit P12.83 million.

The trade expo is being held in partnership with DTI, Bohol Province, Philippine Business for Social Progress, German Development Cooperation, Bohol and Medium Enterprise Development Council, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines-Cebu and Japan International Cooperation Agency.