DAVAO CITY – Filipino and Indonesian exhibitors are joining the three-day 2nd Indonesia Food and Beverage Expo that opened on Friday at the Abreeza Mall to strengthen direct trade between Indonesia and Mindanao.
Organized by the Indonesian Consulate in Davao City, the event featured 21 Indonesian food processors and manufacturers who will showcase coffee, tea, chocolates, biscuits and other products.
Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu said he hopes the exhibitors and trade visitors will use the business-to-business matching session between 18 Indonesian and at least 40 Filipino businessmen to widen their network.
Napitupulu said the consular office here has been holding trade shows to introduce Indonesian products to the local market.
He said more Indonesian products are now available in local markets as a result of the 12 Indonesian expos. Four of these were sponsored by the consular office while the eight others were in collaboration with the local government units of Davao City, General Santos City, Glan in Sarangani, Koronadal City and Zamboanga peninsula.
“As the outcome of our promotion activities and series of expos for the past years, we can now enjoy several additional Indonesian products here in Mindanao. I hope the same outcome will also be cultivated in this year’s expo,” he added.
He said participants in food and beverage expos last year netted $112,000 in initial deals while those in manufacturing reported $2.95 million in business commitments for construction and building materials.
This year, Napitupulu said the consular office opened an expo during Araw ng Tagum in February, Araw ng Davao in March, Mahin Festival in Sarangani, and Philippine Bird Festival in Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat in May.
He said they plan to do four more expos this year.
At least 18 of the Indonesian companies participated in a business-to-business matching session with Mindanawon counterparts, which Napitupulu hopes would translate to joint venture agreements that would strengthen trade between Mindanao and Indonesia.
The meeting aimed to support and increase bilateral trade relations as well as the ASEAN intra-trade connection.
“We bring 18 exhibitors from Indonesia’s food and beverage industry. Some of them are top producers of food and beverage products,” Napitulu said.
He noted that most of the Indonesian products available in local market are shipped via Manila.
He added expo is a “very good opportunity” to create a local demand so that the operation of the Davao City-General Santos City-Bitung, Indonesia sea route launched on April 30, 2017 with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President Rodrigo R. Duterte, would be revived after it was suspended due to insufficient cargo.
Napitupulu said the Davao-GenSan-Bitung route had only been serviced by two fleets – once by 500-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12, owned by Cebu-based Asian Marine Transport Corp. – during the launch of the sea route, and a smaller vessel, 256-TEU KM Gloria 28, owned by Manado-based shipping company, in October.
The smaller vessel departed from Sta. Ana Wharf and skipped General Santos City. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)
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