CORDILLERA PRODUCTS. Wearables, crafts, food and other products produced by micro, small and medium enterprises in the Cordillera Administrative Region are shown in this photo taken in September 2022 at the One Town, One Product hub in Porta Vaga Mall in Baguio City. Various products from the region will be on display and sale at the Festival Mall in Alabang from Nov. 18 to 27. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – A total of 75 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) representing the different industry crafters in the Cordillera Administrative Region will display and sell their products during a trade fair at the Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City from Nov. 18 to 27.

“There will be wearables, furniture, processed food, wine, and other products from the MSMEs in the whole region targeting a sales of PHP25 million or as much as possible the pre-pandemic sales of PHP35 million sales in the 2019 Impakabsat," said Samuel Gallardo, director of the Department and Trade and Industry (DTI) in Benguet and concurrent DTI-Cordillera assistant director, in a phone interview Wednesday.

He said the 2015 Impakabsat trade fair had benchmark sales of PHP63 million with PHP11.8 million in sales from the virtual format.

In 2021, the Impakabsat virtual trade fair recorded PHP18.8 million.

“Predominantly, furniture makes up most of the sales at 70 percent followed by processed food. We are building up the sales and we are hopeful that we would be able to get as many sales, especially with the easing of restrictions,” he said.

Impakabsat, which means brother in Ilocano, is also an acronym representing the first letters of the provinces and this city that comprises the region -- Ifugao, Mountain Province, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Baguio, and Benguet added with the three letters from the Ilocano word.

Gallardo said the DTI, in collaboration with other government agencies, also continues to provide assistance to improve the products, including the packaging and the labeling to make them appealing to the buyers.

The MSMEs are also aided in terms of food safety compliance for the processed items.

“We are positive of reaching the target, especially with the good quality products that will be sold,” Gallardo said.

Aside from the walk-in buyers that drop by the area to avoid the traffic rush, there are also institutional buyers, manufacturers, the typical A, B, and C buyers, and even furniture buyers tapping the MSMEs in the region for their quality produce.

The Impakabsat is a trade fair that was started by the DTI in 1991, a year after the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that devastated the whole region.

Gallardo said the Impakabsat did not just provide an avenue for local manufacturers to develop a market, but also encouraged the MSMEs to further improve their products and packaging and get permits to comply with the market requirements.

“We are slowly finding markets not just locally, but internationally to be able to boost the region’s industries,” he added. (PNA)