Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DTI’s RuMEPP sponsors benchmarking cum exposure trip to Albay

Romyr Handicraft examining the Sorsogon-made products.
By: Bennie A. Recebido

SORSOGON CITY, July 1 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry – Sorsogon (DTI-Sorsogon) through its Rural Micro Enterpise Promotion Programme (RuMEPP) has just recently embarked on Benchmarking cum Exposure Trip to Albay.

Said exposure trip ushered in the 33 micro-entrepreneurs from Sta. Magdalena, Bulusan, Sorsogon City and Donsol who joined the said activity with a new look of the current trend in the market, market opportunities and unleashing potentials of Sorsogon’s micro-entrepreneurs.

RuMePP Provincial Officer Merla Caguia said that to maximize gains out of the activity, the participating micro-entrepreneurs brought with them sample products, calling cards and flyers for possible market matching during the activity.

“The first stop was in Bascaran, Daraga, Albay where the micro-entrepreneurs saw the colorful-filled stores along the highway depicting the enterprising spirits and creativity of the Albay entrepreneurs. Different product offerings and ideas from Romyr Handicraft Store and RLM Native Handicrafts widened the horizons of Sorsogon producers. Of note, Romyr Handicraft requested product samples particularly bags, hats and mats from the participating weavers from Sorsogon,” Ms. Caguia narrated.

Another stop was made in Camalig, Albay where The Rains Handicraft can be found. The Rains Handicraft is a manufacturer of handmade gift packaging boxes, trays, boxes, bags and placemats made from abaca and other indigenous materials. A tour in the showroom and working area elicited good practices for the participants to emulate such as quality and fine craftsmanship and organized workspace especially along food processing as the company is likewise engaged in pili nut processing.

The participants lingered next to OK Bikol Showroom located at the ground floor building of the Philippine Social Enterprise Development Center (SEDCEN) at the Gaisano Complex in Legazpi City, where the best of Bicol’s products are showcased.  A look at the various offerings from food to crafts was one way of showing the producers to excel in their crafts and not settle for mediocrity.

Ms. Noemi Villanueva gave brief orientation about SEDCEN and their programs. Despite the Showroom being open to groups or individual micro-entrepreneurs, Ms. Villanueva stressed on quality products and timeliness in delivery. Nevertheless, the terms have yet to be understood and adhered to by a prospective exhibitor.

“While in OKB Showroom, Nesscraft, a manufacturer based in Tabaco, Albay also entertained the producers particularly those coming from Donsol. Bags with nito insert especially caught Ms. Villanueva’s attention. Around five weavers huddled around her when she gave instruction on the specifics of products she is interested in. This sparked a beginning for Donsol micro-entrepreneurs to strike negotiation especially with Legazpi or Albay buyers as the nearest market outlet for their products,” Ms. Caguia further said.

Sorsogon's entrepreneurs at Legazpi City Terminal.
The final drop off point of the producers was at Legazpi City Terminal where the “Pasalubong” Shops are designated. Although the products are almost the same, foods, crafts, novelty and souvenir items, still making contacts with the owners would make sense especially that most of them are into trading. Only few managed to edge their way with the owners and offer products but one micro-entrepreneur generated upfront sales for pili shell bracelets.

Going around the Pasalubong Shops provided an insight on the prevailing prices of products and the importance of going through product development to update the look of the products every now and then.

According to the producers, the trip not just provide them with the idea of how abundant Sorsogon is, but also tickled the creativity they have in them that will help translate the raw materials available in their respective localities into something useful and profitable. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon/DTI)

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