OTOP creates jobs, makes investments
by Jean D. Abangan
TAGUM CITY (9 May) -- The One-Town One-Product Program (OTOP) in Davao del Norte last year made as much as P21.34 million investments, providing a considerable 606 jobs for local residents.
In baring this report, the Department of Trade and Industry, Davao del Norte office also said a total of 35 SMEs were being assisted through OTOP, raking domestic sales of P5 million and cornering export sales of US$3 million.
The provincial government of Davao del Norte along with its 11 component cities and municipalities made a pitch of their respective products developed under OTOP during the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Tourism Forum (ATF) 2006 Mindanao Trade Exhibit at SM City Davao.
OTOP has taken off in the province when Governor Gelacio P. Gementiza signed on June 20, 2006 the certification adopting the industry cluster approach to development with banana chips as its priority product for development and promotion under OTOP.
Following the ATF, San Isidro Municipality’s Chokolate’ de San de Isidro (CSI) has become a buzz word in succeeding promotion activities particularly in last year’s upscale trade fairs and exhibits such as the Mindanao Trade Expo, SME Expo 2006 at SM Mega Mall and the Davao Trade Exhibit.
Locally known as sikwate, the cacao beans made into chocolate bars from San Isidro, Davao del Norte, have now found its way to posh hotels in Davao City.
DTI also has made it possible that the sun-dried Cavendish Banana rejects from Cavendish-for-export producing municipalities of Panabo, Sto Tomas, Kapalong and Carmen, would be turned into food grade flour.
Instead of letting these rejected chipped Cavendish banana dry along the road merely for industrial use, DTI has developed a prototype multi-purpose common service facility to upgrade the drying method of this raw material.
A P1 million loan was released in June last year through OTOP, to three Cavendish banana chips processors/ market consolidators as support to banana-flour banner project developed under OTOP by the four LGUs.
DTI also assisted last year the promotion and development of other products bannered by municipal and city governments under OTOP: mango of the Island Garden City of Samal; ticog (rattan) of New Corella; tilapia of Braulio E. Dujalia and the virgin coconut oil of Asuncion.
OTOP is a concept designed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to spur local entrepreneurial activity and to generate local job opportunities.
Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said a P15 billion credit fund is available for small and medium entrepreneurs through OTOP which is expected to stimulate local economic activity sustain the anti-poverty thrust of the present administration. (PIA XI) [top]