More business links to open with ASPIRE project

Zamboanga City was last leg of the APSIRE roadshow to be conducted in Zamboanga Peninsula on Friday at LM Hotel. Over 80 local food producers attended the roadshow organized by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) of the Department of Agriculture regional office IX.


ASPIRE is Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Expositions. Ferdinand D. Gamorot, AMAD9 Chief, said that the project is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). Regions 3, 5, 6, 12 and CAR initially launched ASPIRE this year. “In 2018, ASPIRE Zampen will be launched sometime in May, at the KCC Mall.” Gamorot said. “The demographics of mall goers in the city are varied. Our data show that in terms of Sales, the mall in Zamboanga is no. 1 in Mindanao. A number of them also come from rich neighboring islands of BASULTA aside from the Zamboanga provinces. With these much audience, market opportunities will open and demand for products will increase.”

DA, DA-BFAR, LGU, DTI and PCCI are partners in assisting farmers, producers, fisherfolk, mico, small, medium scale enterprises in the development of their product.

Mr. Sthony M. Ramos, manufacturer of Mang Isto Chili Garlic Sauce, a famed local product in Zamboanga City said, “Personally, I support the ASPIRE program and one of my expectations would be hitting bigger demands from regional and national markets. I hope for increase in production and demand for my product, and increase sales. And in the future, I hope to join the export market with the help of DA, DTI and PCCI.” Recently, Mang Isto also participated in the TienDA agri-fair held in Davao City, where exhibitors gained access to market their products, and join a network of food producers nationwide to make food accessible and affordable for all.

Zamboanga City PCCI Head Pocholo Soliven encouraged Zamboanga farmers and producers to have a shift in their mindset on the basic model of business with just produce-trader-sell and repeat. He said producers, entrepreneurs and those in the business need to know where they are in the value chain, and from there they can distinguish where to start and where they are headed. “ASPIRE has our total commitment of support. And as a first step, we need to have a right mindset to achieve the success in this program. Mentor, Market and Money are important business strategies.” Soliven said. As a member of the Regional Development Council, Soliven mentioned going to various hearings and meetings in support to the passing and approval of the annual budget of different agencies.

DTI9 representative Ms Rose Garcia briefed the participants of the services they can avail from DTI in support to the ASPIRE project. DTI trainings consist of 11 modules, where DTI assists in product development, packaging, and marketing, among others.

In her message, DA9 Assistant Director Maria Melba Wee reminded local producers to develop a sustainable mechanism for their production. She said initially the region focuses on the top commodities, rubber, mango, banana, coconut, seaweeds, abaca and emerging commodities such as cacao, coffee, cassava of which can be developed, and has the potentials of bigger markets. “To have sustainability, we must focus on what we have and be open to product improvement, bigger markets and of course, increased incomes.”

During the Program, a data profile was collected from all food producers participants, bearing products they supply or need for production, raw and processed . “We are targeting a web-based ASPIRE program, wherein, producers, buyers and consumers can search what they need online. This will still be further developed by the Central office and as for Region IX, we have gathered data from the different roadshows conducted region wide.” said Richard Natividad, AMAD staff. Natividad recently attended the web-based Aspire program in Los Baños, Laguna.#CC,DA9