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Dutch enable PH firms to be EU-compliant on coco product exports

Manila Bulletin     2/11/2015 11:02:00 AM    ReadCount:460

The Netherlands has extended a P60-million capability-building project to the Philippines that is enabling companies like Cocoplus to be EU (European Union)-compliant for their exports  coconut and other fruit products.

The Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, known as CBI in Dutch, is implementing an export coaching program under the CBI Food Ingredients Program.  This is a project of Netherlands’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that started in 2013.

“We’re helping companies to become capable of exporting to European countries,” said Metals Industry Research Development Program (MIRDC) Deputy Executive Director Jonathan Q. Puerto in a media briefing.

Availing of the Dutch program are Cocoplus Aquarian Development Corp., Fruitlicious Company Inc.,  Global Food Solutions Inc., KF Nutri International Inc., M. Lhuillier Food Products Inc., Treelife Coco Sugar, Filipinas Organic Coconut Products Corp., and Lao Integrated Farms Inc.

The program includes improvement of product quality and standardization, sustainability, export marketing skills and human resources capacity-building.

“After having completed these modules, the companies will be prepared to enter the (regional or) European market through trade fair participation and the establishment of business contacts with importers. The focus products are dried and processed fruits, and coconut derives such as coconut oil and coconut sugar,” said CBI.

The Dutch project jumpstarted another export capability program of the MIRDC-Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

This phase of the program involves small and medium enterprises that target to export not only to EU but to Asian countries, according to MIRDC Planning Chief  Mercedita G. Abutal.

“As a counterpart, we did a project patterned after the model of Netherlands because we have a bigger market in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) that is easier to reach and where  (marketing) cost is lower,” said Abutal in an interview.

The CBI project is also in partnership with the Philippine Exporters Foundation.  The CBI has a project in 48 developing countries in 27 sectors.

The program’s major components are business audit and action plan which assesses SMEs’ competence for EU export; fine-tuning of business operation; export capability-building including export strategy; certification (co-financing opportunities and certification processes); and market entry (gaining business contacts).

In a model of private-public partnership, MIRDC is tapping private companies for these kinds of training on competitiveness.

Partners of the DOST in the ASEAN program are the Metalworking Industries Association of the Philippines, Philippines  Metalcasting  Association, Inc, Philippine Die and Mold Association, Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines  Electronics Industry Association of the Philippines, among others.