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Regional industry planning aims to boost 6 regional product champs’ production

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A two-day regional convergence and industry planning for the six champion products of region 9 was conducted last Jan. 26-27 at a local Hotel to help spur growth and generate more jobs.

Representatives from concerned government office all over the region gathered to give their inputs on how to improve regional production and sales of coconut products, specifically, coco coir, mango, abaca, seaweeds, rubber, and bottled sardines, Zamboanga Peninsula’s champion products.

The regional activity was conducted to evaluate last year’s respective industry plans, identify its strong and weak points, and come up with a doable and improved work plan that will address constraints experienced by the industries.

Department of Trade and Industry IX Assistant Regional Director Dr. Sitti Amina Jain said the planning workshop also aims to help industry players to generate more jobs in their areas.

“Our activity aims to upgrade our existing work plan and help our small and medium businessmen under these industries to perform better and achieve growth as this will translate to more jobs”, Dr. Jain said.

Jain added that proper program implementation should be intensified this year to match the needs of the said industries.

To come up with a concrete and workable work plan, DTI 9 brought Ms. Rita Pilarca, founding member of the International ValueLinks Association, which started in Germany, to orient the participants on the value chain approach, a systematic economic model which combines the selection of a product and the appropriate technology, organizing industry players in order to have greater access to the market.

In this approach, businessmen are being helped from production to marketing,  linking them to input providers until their products reach intended markets.

According to Pilarca, value chain presents advantages for industry players as this will help create a systemic and holistic approach focused on competitiveness of the whole value chain. Value chain also is a concerted approach where it makes a collective action from all involved in the business. She added that value chain is market-oriented as it is guided by the demand of final consumers. It is also participatory where stakeholders determine the strategy and are responsible for the implementation, and it also removes duplication of functions in the flow of business and also ensures impact.
Pilarca said these are all necessary for all the six industries to succeed.

As the focal point of the activity, Dr. Jain reminded all participants that there sole purpose of the activity is to help all industry players and become instrumental in poverty reduction in the region and country as a whole.

“We have to bear in mind that what we are doing here is solely for one purpose, and that is to help in the reduction of poverty, here in our region, and our country as a whole”, Jain stressed.

As of 2010, the six product champions of Zamboanga Peninsula have not seen significant growth, but have shown vast potential even in the international market due to demands.

Rubber, for instance, reached regional sales of $2,688,802, around P110M to P120 M. But this can still increase if production is improved, and producers linked to buyers and processors.

Seaweeds is one industry that needs great improvement as markets are now taken by Indonesia. Years back, the Philippines, with region 9 as one of the major contributors, was the top seaweeds exporter, but has lost its grip of the top spot in recent years.

During the workshop, the group in charge of the seaweed sector has identified constraints that need immediate and proper action to help the industry retain its position in the world market.

However, Dr. Jain said that it is not the group’s responsibility to implement the action plan but the industry players themselves, with the different government offices concerned as facilitators.

“It will always be the players themselves who will implement this work plan. We are here to be facilitators and guide as to what they should do and where they should go for assistance”, Jain said.

The other four industries, mango, abaca, bottled sardines and coco coir, have been performing steadily, but there is still vast room for improvement.

The region is still the major source of bottled sardines in the country, with Dipolog City as the center of production.

Abaca, which was just added to the regional product champion last 2010 by virtue of a Regional Development Council Resolution, is also seen as an up and coming industry.

Fiber Industry Development Authority 9 Asst. Regional Director Deogracias Maranga said fiber products from the region, and the country as a whole, is considered the best abaca fiber in the market today.  

Markets for fiber include China for their tea bag, Japan for their paper bills, and United Kingdom for cordages.

The technical working group for abaca industry aims to increase fiber production by 50% this year.

By MVC/PIA9-ZBST




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