The National Trade Fair (NTF) is a yearly event organized by the Department Trade and Industries. If I am not mistaken, this has always been held at the Megatrade Hall at Megamall. NTF is the government's attempt to introduce small producers to a bigger market. Support is also given in terms of product development, product design and packaging. Small producers are usually those that have graduated from the level of micro/backyard enterprise. The customary buyers for this fair are exporters, department stores, specialty shops/stores and some foreign buyers. This week is another NTF week.
After visiting NTF every year for several years now, all I can say is that it's still all the same. Not much has changed. It's the usual stuff; bags, accessories, bamboo craft, weaves, packaged food, wood craft, furnitures. Since the time that I visited the NTF event, the only product that I know that was truly developed and has matured is the virgin coconut oil. After all these year, it's still the same kind of products year in year out, except for this one..
I am not really sure if the NTF is focused on mass produced/handicraft/labor intensive products but that is my impression since they are dealing with small producers. The NTF is suppose to be a showcase of Filipino ingenuity and creativity. Well, I'm not impressed. Pare pareho na lang yung creativity at ingenuity na nakikita ko. Sana may ma create tayo na product na makita mo pa lang, ang masasabi mo agad, "Wow, this is something new!" Kaso halos puro replay lang yung mga produkto.
My wish is sana maka create tayo ng global brand. Kung magawa nating global brand ang adobo bakit hindi natin gawin. Ang Thai restaurant dito hindi lang pinapasok ng mga Thai kundi pati mga locals and expats. Ang Filipino restaurants abroad ba pina patronize din ng mga locals at expats doon? Di ba kadalasan tayo tayo ding mga Pinoy ang tumatangkilik sa mga Pinoy restaurant. Since nagkalat na tayo sa buong mundo, hindi ba natin pwedeng turuan ang ibang nationalities na ma appreciate ang pagkain natin. Di ba masarap pakinggan kung sasabihin ng mga expats, "Let's have Filipino food for lunch." Hindi na lang yung puro Chinese, Japanese, French, Thai, Mexican food ang choice nila. Ewan ko kung ano ang kinalaman nito sa NTF pero sana meron tayong ganung mindset, pang global ang approach hindi iyong puro handicraft na lang.
Ewan ko kung may bagong technology na na imbento in terms of processing and production. Hindi naman kasi nakikita yun sa end product at usually iyon ang trade secret. But since pare pareho yung mga produkto, siguro walang bagong technology na naimbento, except for one. Siguro dapat mas mag focus tayo doon. Ewan ko kung na kopya na yung process nang paggawa ng virgin coconut oil sa ibang bansa pero I'm sure tayo ang naka develop ng process nun. Yung technology ng waterless fish hibernation, atin iyon. Pati din yung coconet technology. Yung mga ganito ang dapat natin i encourage at i develop. Yung mga bag, picture frames, fashion accessories na yan, kayang kayang gayahin yan sa China at bagsak presyo pa. Dapat ang mindset, ano yung di nila kayang gawin, ano yung hindi nila makokopya.
Sana ma transcend natin yung mindset na handicraft. Walang masama sa handicraft. Maraming nabubuhay dito. Ang akin lang naman, sana sige pa. May magagawa at madidiskubre pa tayo maliban sa handicraft.