DTI sees lower sales in IFEX 2018

Ralf Rivas
DTI sees lower sales in IFEX 2018
The Department of Trade and Industry opens more slots to MSMEs to feature their products in IFEX 2018, but at the cost of possible lower sales this year

MANILA, Philippines— Food exhibitors are expected to generate some $150 million* or P7.8 billion in the 12th International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2018. The figure is $34 million less than what was generated in 2017.

IFEX 2018 opened on Friday, May 25, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City with around 450 local and international food producers and will last until Sunday. The program is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of DTI.

DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado explained that there is a rationale behind the “conservative estimate.”

“If you will look at the floor today, you will see that most are developmental. You will see less of the large enterprises. this is the platform to introduce innovative products that are ready for export,” Terrado said.

Terrado also emphasized that many of the participants are first timers.

MINDANAO PAVILION. Products from Mindanao takes center stage in IFEX 2018. Photo by Ralf Rivas

The 3-day event featured a Mindanao Pavilion, highlighting the native flavors and in-demand products from southern island. Some of the products include Halal-certified products, seafood, and healthy food products.

Over to the Visayas Pavillion, piyaya, muscovado sugar, gourmet tuyo, and dried seafood took center stage. 

Meanwhile, the International Hall featured renowned firms from China, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Russia, and Spain.

“My gut feel is that I think the difference will come from the local market. The sale from the local market there will be a lot more local orders from institutional buyers,” Terrado added.

FRESH FRUITS. A booth of the Department of Agriculture in IFEX 2018 showcases mangosteen, avocado, and durian. Photo by Ralf Rivas

She also pointed out that the target for 2017 was just $150 million as well, but the outcome exceeded expectations.

The high exhibitor and buyer turnout from previous editions have translated to export and local sales totaling to $365.6 million since 2014.

Top buyers came from the United States, Japan, Singapore, China, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, and Canada.

Seafood and marine products have been consistently the most in-demand, followed by fresh and processed food and vegetables, fine food and specialties, organic products, and confectionaries. 

To streamline export deals, the DTI-CITEM opened its “IFEX Connect” program, a customized platform for integrated business-to-business matching service to help buyers identify and screen potential business partners among the exhibitors.— Rappler.com

*$1 = P52.60

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.