The conference in Region I was held on March 4, 2016 in La Union and focused on the cacao, coffee, processed fruits, and processed meat industries. Some 300 participants from the Ilocos Region’s various business sectors, local government units and agencies, and the academe were in attendance.
DTI-I Regional Director Florante Leal welcomed the participants, saying that “this conference is a perfect venue for us to work together to address the challenges and opportunities our own industry clusters face. The alignment of regional industry roadmaps and national strategies will allow us to take advantage of the country’s expanded market access, to attract investments in our region and to grow our MSMEs to make quality of products and services at par with ASEAN and European standards.” He added that “local industry roadmaps will define our vision, goals, and targets initially for cacao, coffee, mango, and processed meat and fish industries… We have a lot of work ahead of us as we identify binding constraints to growth and recommend strategies for industry upgrading and development.”
In opening the conference, DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba said that “the forum aims to contribute to building capacities of our local industries and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of opportunities in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the European Generalized System of Preferences Plus (EU-GSP+).” She added that “[w]e must seize opportunities with government working in coordination with industry and academe to enable the region to craft your own industry cluster roadmaps. These industry cluster roadmaps will allow MSMEs to move up the value chain and facilitate the link between agriculture, manufacturing, and services.”