The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said it has received funding facility from the European Union for a study to come up with a collective brand for Mindanao products in order to fetch premium prices in the export market.
In a presentation Thursday (July 23) at the opening of Mindanao Exporters Congress 2015 in Davao City, former trade undersecretary Merly Cruz said the Mindanao Collective Mark (MCM) project will provide the platform for a comprehensive program for the distinct quality and increased competitiveness of enterprises in the island.
“The same trademark will represent the intent of Mindanao’s industries to thrive in the local and international markets,” Cruz said in her presentation.
The EU funding facility, reportedly worth P8 million (US$350,000) is under the Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) Project 3.
The facility will include formulation of guidelines and policies and capability building and technical training for government regulators.
Aside from MinDA, other the government agencies that will be involved in the project are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and local government units.
MinDA will also tap micro, small and medium enterprises in Mindanao in the formulation of guidelines and facilities.
The branding, Cruz added, “comes as a symbol that embodies these four essential factors – scale, quality, delivery and traceability.”
This could boost Philippine exports to the EU which recently granted the Philippines a GSP+ rating. Over 6,000 Philippine products, mostly agriculture-based are covered by the GSP+ rating.
Cruz said they have initially identified agro-industrial clusters in Mindanao that could start trading using the collective mark by end of 2015.
Among them are the Northern Mindanao Development Corridor for banana, coconut, rubber, abaca and oil palm and the South-Central Mindanao Development Corridor for livestock and poultry products, including fishing.
The Western Mindanao Development Corridor is identified with coffee, cacao and seaweed products.
Cruz also said they hope to give Mindanao agricultural producers “a better understanding of the benefits of a collective trademark for Mindanao.”
She added that they also aim “to leverage on the existing organized industry clusters of Mindanao as vital entities to be involved in the establishment of Mindanao’s collective trademark.”
While still trade secretary under both the Estrada and Arroyo administrations, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had egged tuna producers in General Santos City to come up with a singular brand – similar to the Bumble Bee of Thailand.
General Santos City is home to 6 of the country’s 7 tuna canning plant with annual export revenues of more than US$350 million, most of these coming from canned tuna products.
Philippine canned tuna exports, however, carry the label of importers.
By Edwin Espejo