Food and non-food products by micro small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Palawan could be more competitive if their designs are visually appealing and their packaging follow government standards.
Gerald David, a Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) program manager, raised this observation during a media briefing organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the BPI Foundation recently.
“Dito sa Palawan, medyo sa design mahina pa tayo,” he said, when asked to measure the competitiveness of Palawan products in the domestic and export markets.
David said based on his assessment, products by the MSMEs need to improve outdated designs, and product labeling should be more accurate in terms of indicating nutritional facts, net weight, and expiration date.
“Kaya ito, dinala namin dito ang ating (PTTC) mga resource persons para mag-bigay, mag-mentor, mag-coaching kung ano bang magandang design ngayon. Kung ano bang pupuwedeng gawin nila sa produkto nila, sa mga materyales na existing dito ano pa bang puwedeng i-design nila,” he explained.
David was one of the resource speakers in the two-day “Show Me, Teach Me, MSE” Empowering Entrepreneurs program of the BPI Foundation in collaboration with the DTI.
The capacity skills-building activity is currently being held at a hotel in the city with 120 MSME participants from as far as Bataraza, southern Palawan.
David cited that in a critiquing they did of a MSME product, he noticed that its label is missing nutritional and net weight facts, which are important according to Philippine standards on processed food.
“Sa isang product na ginamit namin as example, napansin namin na walang net weight at wala din ang ibang nutritional facts na importante sa mamimili,” he said.
On handicraft- and furniture-making, he said what they noted was that almost all products utilized “old style or traditional designs” that are no longer appealing to buyers.
“Hindi tayo makapag-compete sa ibang bansa dahil ang design natin medyo old style, traditional. Mixed designs na at kaya dinala natin dito iyong mga experts natin,” he said.
He stated that part of their training is also finding the right market for Palawan products.
“Kung okay ang design, we can help look para sa right market sa kanilang mga furniture at handicrafts, hindi lang sa Pilipinas at sa Asia, kung hindi sa ibang bansa pa,” he added.
Tessa Calalang, the program manager of the BPI Foundation, said they have so far assisted more than 200 entrepreneurs in Palawan since 2011 for their program and wants to support more micro-entrepreneurs in the future.