IN ITS effort to catapult local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the global market, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), launched an innovation hub specifically catering to the processed food sector on August 10, 2016.
The Food Connection Innovation hub is in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Food Innovation Center (DOST-FIC).
“With the growing opportunities in the food sector and the anticipation of the huge market demand for innovative food products in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration, we would like to provide areas of assistance for our entrepreneurs specifically those processed food MSMEs,” said PTTC Executive Director Nestor Palabyab during the soft launch of the Food Connection innovation hub.
The hub will specifically house facilities that will equip food entrepreneurs in meeting technical requirements of the export market such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and other safety and quality certifications. Food laboratory testing equipment such as metal detector, water activity meter and pH meter, are all aimed to be available during the hub’s full operation. Consultancy services on safe quality management, production, marketing and management will also be offered to enterprises that will be assisted by the hub. Other existing facilities at the PTTC such as seminar rooms, exhibit halls and meeting rooms will also be accessible.
Included in the latest Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), processed food sector is positioned to create demand in the growing market abroad especially with the rise of healthy food products, and Halal-certified products in non-Muslim regions. The Food Connection Innovation Hub will be housed with ASEAN trade experts, export marketing trainers and experts, and other trade experts that will cater to the needs of the hub’s clients.
Through the food connection innovation hub, DTI-PTTC also expects to promote networking among key players and venture capitalists in the sector to establish collaboration and develop viable business strategies.
According to Philippine Exports Confederation Inc (PHILEXPORT), there are about 500 processed food MSMEs that are currently registered as their members. These enterprises are expected to benefit in different trade assistance that the hub will provide to further their export products in penetrating the global market.
In 2014, Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA) reported that there are a total of 127,518 established MSMEs in the food and accommodation sector. These numbers are expected to grow as the Philippines prepares for the full integration of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Philippine Trade Training Center is the DTI’s training arm which promotes capacity building and mentoring among entrepreneurs especially those in the exporting industry.