This year’s annual five-day trade fair, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 6 (Western Visayas), generated an initial sale of PHP8.7 million, despite the pandemic.
In a phone interview on Thursday, DTI-6 Director Rebecca Rascon said the functionality and quality of products that were displayed made them attractive to buyers.
“There are still provinces that have not fully reported their sales because there are still negotiations. So probably, we can hit the PHP9 million target sales for this year,” Rascon said.
A total of 101 exhibitors, composed of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the region’s six provinces, participated in the 18th year of the trade fair, dubbed “Panublion”, which ran from November 14 to 18.
Rascon identified the massive presence of their products on social media as one of the factors why people visited the fair amid the pandemic.
Other events were also done virtually, using the Facebook and YouTube platforms.
However, they decided not to do it 100-percent virtually because people would still like to touch and smell the product before buying it, she said.
“People have started to see the situation getting better, so gradually they are coming out. And hopefully, things will go back to a normal situation,” Rascon said.
Meanwhile, to continue the online presence of MSMEs, she said, selected products were chosen to be included in the 3D catalog that would be launched two weeks from now.
“The 3D catalog enables the buyer to inspect the feature of the products,” Rascon said.
Nonetheless, she said MSMEs have to be prepared to become resilient amid the pandemic.
“We are providing support to MSMEs in terms of managerial and entrepreneurial training. We are also looking for funds for MSMEs for them to avail of if they need capital to reopen or revive (their business),” she said.
This year’s Panublion had for its theme “Refresh Recreate Recover”.
Rascon described the Panublion as very encouraging because they also awarded the best MSMEs, both for the food and non-food categories.
The Lorenzo Farm from Iloilo was named as the best product under the food category while Vivo handicrafts from Negros Occidental was adjudged the best product under the non-food category.
The Buttons ‘N Things by Sheree Reynaldo and Baligyaan Nature’s Products, both from Aklan, were declared as the best product collections under the non-food and food categories, respectively.
Awarded as SME of the Year were the Vito Prints and Pieces (Negros Occidental); Einar’s Natural Food Export (Pavia, Iloilo); Nelanz Crafts (San Lorenzo, Guimaras); Progressive Women Agrarian Reform Cooperative (Dumarao, Capiz); Francia Handicrafts Manufacturing (San Jose, Antique); and Baligyaan Nature’s Products (Kalibo, Aklan).
The DTI also named as Heritage Awardees Ma. Lily Rosquillo (Negros Occidental); Evelyn Jiz (Iloilo City); Rosemarie Delgado (Guimaras); Norma Chavez (Capiz); Merlyn Sorilla (Antique); and Guadalupe Rapiz (Aklan).
Rascon said the SME of the Year awardees were those who were able to sustain their sales and continuously engage in product development.
The Heritage Awardees are those artisans who were able to preserve their design. (PNA)