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Pangasinan Export-Quality Products Get Exposure In International Food Expo

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Pangasinan Export-Quality Products Get Exposure In International Food Expo

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Pangasinan has joined the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines as a province for the first time to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) acquire a bigger market, especially in other countries.

Ten Pangasinan SMEs will be at World Trade Center in Pasay City until Sunday, with food products such as deboned and processed bangus (milkfish) in various flavors, fish and chicken karage (deep-fried and marinated), natural sugarcane vinegar, processed organic herbs, processed catfish products, carabao dairy products, and bagoong (fermented fish paste) products.

“These are well-chosen to give them the edge among the exhibitors at this expo,” Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Melicio Patague II said in an interview over the weekend.

Among them are naturally fermented sugarcane vinegar products by Dimalupig & Gabrielle Food Products Manufacturing of Pozzorubio town.

Founder Glaiza Velasco said their raw materials are sourced from farmlands in their town.

“We are renting out a farmland to ensure sufficient supply of locally grown sugarcane, which we ferment for about two to three months until we get its desired acidity,” she said.

Velasco said the business not only helped her finish her studies, but also the farmers in their village.

Although it is their first time to join the expo, Mama Cili Enterprises from Anda town has been supplying bottled processed milkfish in various flavors to various clients, including an airline.

“Our products are being served in business class and first-class cabins,” owner Cecilia Natividad said.

It is also the first time for Bernal Bagoong from Lingayen town to expose its bagoong products at the expo despite its 63 years in the local market scene.

Daniel Bernal Sr., a fisherman from Barangay Pangapisan North in Lingayen, started the fish paste business in the 1940s.

Genieleen Bernal, granddaughter of Bernal Sr., said the business has since become the bread and butter of their family and the fisherfolk’s families in their community.

They currently have 100 employees.

“We are very proud that our manufacturing plant is clean and well maintained to ensure the quality of our products. We are very thankful to the provincial government of Pangasinan for the exposure of the products and the opportunity to meet potential investors,” she said.

Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative chair Rolly Mateo Sr. said they are excited with the opportunity to share their products to the international market.

“We hope we could increase our market reach as we are preparing for greater demands, with support and provision from different national government agencies and the local government units,” he said.

Houyang Food Corporation of Dagupan City, makers of bangus and chicken karage, said the IFEX has boosted her products’ marketability since they first joined in 2023.

Owner Evelyn Co said they use an “innovation” in processing milkfish, about two tons weekly.

They are also open for expansion outside of the country.

The other Pangasinan SMEs in the expo are JNS Fish Processing from Urbiztondo, processed hito (catfish); Freshious Inc. from Binmaley town, deboned processed milkfish in various flavors; Elisha Bay Dagupan Bangus and Seafoods from Dagupan City, processed deboned and bottled milkfish in various flavors; Abundance Agri-Tourism and Training Center from Dasol, processed organic herbs; and Nutridense Food Manufacturibg Corporation based in Sta. Barbara town, fortified food products.

Department of Trade and Industry-Pangasinan Director Natalia Dalaten said all products have complete documents and requirements such as business name registration for single proprietors, registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission for corporations, and Food and Drug Administration licenses.

“The products of these SMEs have the necessary certifications and approval from concerned government agencies on the quality, food preparation and the like, certifying that these are of export standard,” she said.

Dalaten said the 10 SMEs are in the roster of suppliers in the international market, while some have confirmed business-to-business meetings.

“Very advantageous as this would open the doors of opportunities for them to go into export as most of the buyers are exporters,” she said.

IFEX is the country’s biggest international trade exhibition on ethnic and specialty food.

Originally the Asian Ethnic Food Festival from 1999 to 2003, IFEX has provided a business-to-business platform for local and international food companies to discover new markets, launch new products, and transact with international buyers.

This year’s expo has more than 500 exhibitors and over 10,000 expected buyers and visitors.

Aside from the physical exhibition in Pasay City, the products of the exhibitors will also be available through the IFEXConnect.com, where buyers can place their orders online. (PNA)