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CISC assists local enterprises in promotion and market linkage

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Article by Stella Concepcion R. Britanico

The Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) of CPAf participated in this year’s UPLB Loyalty Day Trade Fair and Exhibit at the Freedom Park held on October 7-11. Various agri-based products of cooperatives in Laguna and Batangas, and coconut farmers in Quezon province were displayed at the CISC booth.

Food items (e.g., organic rice, vinegar, peanuts, honey, fruit wines, bangus, coffee) sold were produced by cooperatives (agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations or ARBOs) that have been part of CISC research projects with the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The CISC has conducted several projects to assess and monitor DAR projects with ARBOs and provide agricultural extension and business development services to these organizations. From these projects, “we have observed that there is limited assistance provided to ARBOs in terms of marketing,” Florita Rañeses, university research associate shared. “To sustain coop enterprises and the income they provide to the coop, we thought of helping them in marketing and promoting their products,” she said. Meanwhile, coconut products (e.g., coco sugar, skimmed coconut milk, coco flour, coco vinegar, sap aminos, virgin coconut oil) offered at the trade fair were products of coconut farmers with private companies such as Green Life Coconut Products Philippines, Inc., CocoPlus Aquarian Development Corp., and Alabat Coco Hub.

The coconut farmers in Quezon perform the initial processing at the village level – extracting of virgin coconut oil and coconut sap, which will then be processed by these companies for domestic and export markets. These coconut farmers and processing companies served as respondents of a 2019 project based at the CISC. Funded by the International Labour Organization, the project looked at the skills gaps in the production of the various non-traditional coconut product exports with the end goal of providing more opportunities for decent work, particularly in the agriculture sector. Similarly, marketing was identified as a major concern of the coconut farmers and processors, based on the results of the study. During the trade fair, their products were offered to UPLB staff, students, alumni, among others. “Trade fairs are good opportunities to share their products to consumers and to connect small enterprises to potential partners,” Rañeses said. As she shared, a trade fair buyer reached out to Green Life to inquire about the possibility of being a distributor/reseller.

The CISC started helping small enterprises through promotion and market linkage in 2018. CISC staff offered the products during an international conference, Loyalty Day forum, and Christmas party of the College. The CISC also participated in the COOPihan Bazaar, a 4-day event of the UPLB College of Economics and Management held on October 21-24, 2019 at the Institute of Cooperatives and Bio-Enterprise Development (ICOPED) Lobby.

According to Rañeses, the Center also looks at the possibility of linking the enterprises with the provincial and regional offices of the Department of Tourism and at enhancing the capacity of organizations to produce large volume of offers to meet the demand of an increasing market.

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