May 26, 2023

CITEM bolsters the PH food export industry at IFEX Philippines 2023

Discovering the world’s best flavors at IFEX Philippines

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), led by Executive Director Dr. Edward L. Fereira, officially launched the 16th edition of IFEX Philippines at the World Trade Center, Metro Manila on Friday, May 26, 2023.

This year’s IFEX Philippines has the biggest exhibitor participation numbers with over 700 leading Philippine and international food and beverage exporters. The three-day event is expected to draw more than 10,000 local and foreign buyers.

Dr. Fereira, during the opening program, underscored the importance of the food trade show in building stronger partnerships and establishing new connections between local MSMEs and international trade buyers. “IFEX Philippines is a response to the stable growing global demand for Asian and healthy food products, such as durian and ube.”

In hopes of building stronger connections through a shared love for food, “It is through sharing that we become more united and interconnected with each other. We hope that IFEX Philippines will be an event where everyone could share a significant piece of their culture to the global table,” he added.

Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) Executive Director Dr. Edward L. Fereira spearheaded the opening of IFEX Philippines 2023


Senator Mark Villar, Chairperson for Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship and Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, graced the event to support the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) initiatives for local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by propelling the trade and export promotion of the country.

Senator Villar announced that Senate Bill No. 1594 or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines, an additional government program for micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) aiming to drive inclusive local economic growth by offering Philippine products in the international stage, has been approved and is now on its third and final reading.

DTI Undersecretary Carol Sanchez is also present at the event on behalf of DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual to extend their full support to jumpstart the Philippine food industry.

Emphasizing DTI’s continued support for local MSMEs, Usec. Sanchez announced that the Philippines is now a signatory of the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). “DTI also supports increased opportunities for our MSMEs to offer their products and services on the international scene and to have more participation in global value chains (GVC),” she stated.

Other government officials and business leaders also attended the opening ceremony including Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel; Senator Cynthia Villar; Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM); DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda; CITEM Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Mediran; Philippine Airlines President Captain Stanley Ng; Hon. Christian Unabia, Misamis Oriental District Representative.

Katha Awards for Food 2023 winners are presented by distinguished officials and guests. (From L-R) Project Director Rowena Mendoza, Philippine Airlines President Captain Stanley Ng, CITEM Executive Director Dr. Edward Fereira, DTI-TPG Asec. Glenn Peñaranda, and Mintel Head of Commercial for Southeast Asia Nick Brown

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Leonila Baluyut of the DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG) addressed the challenges Filipino MSMEs are still facing and reiterated the programs their agency has been implementing to support them such as the Rise Up Multipurpose Loan, a zero-interest and collateral-free loan program; Shared Service Facilities (SSF), a project that aims to improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by providing better access to technology; and Kapatid Mentor Me, a mentorship program for small businesses to boost their entrepreneurial capacity through improved access to mentorship, money, and market.

The DTI-ROG agency provided strong and active support to IFEX Philippines by inviting homegrown MSMEs from the country's different regions.

IFEX Philippines is CITEM's long-running trade event and sourcing program for Philippine and global food and ingredients. Together with its website, IFEX Philippines serves as a one-stop business-to-business (B2B) platform aiming to optimize the sourcing experience of buyers from anywhere in the world.

To learn more about IFEX Philippines, visit

Source: Francheska Go



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