Dagupan execs start search for best productsBy Yolanda Sotelo
Inquirer Northern Luzon
DAGUPAN CITY—This city is known for its three Bs—bangus (milkfish), bagoong (fish paste) and bocayo (grated coconut candy).
But it has more to offer as local officials here explore other food items and discuss plans to promote them under the label “Dagupan’s Best Products.”
Several items vying for the label were exhibited during the barangay products and livelihood program last Monday at the city museum.
Among the products displayed were homemade ham, pastries, candies, bagoong, homemade ice cream, sunflower seed brittle, guapple , bibingka, cassava cake and soya milk.
Mayor Benjamin Lim says while Dagupan bangus has always been considered as the city’s top product, the city has other products that need to be supported and promoted.
“When we talk of support, we talk about shelf life, financing, marketing and promotion, and product development and research,” Lim says during the opening of the three-day exhibit.
Lim cites the experience of Thailand which, he says, was successful in bringing its food products to the international market when it started its one town, one product project 30 years ago.
Despite its success, he says, Thailand still conducts yearly promotions.
“Thailand’s local products… are now accepted internationally. They were successful because their national government supported them with research. We hope we can do that with our products from Dagupan,” Lim said.
But not only those produced in Dagupan would be considered for the right to carry “Dagupan’s Best” label.
“We have touched base with producers from neighboring towns and asked them if they wanted to be carried under the umbrella of Dagupan’s Best. But their products won’t be presented as made in Dagupan but in the towns where they are produced,” Lim says.
“We will welcome them, and I think they will like to be included, rather than stay in the town where they don’t get support,” he adds.
The city government wants market research done on the products to find out the demand so that producers would be guided on the food items’ preparation and the volume they would deliver.
“For instance, we may like our bangus to be bland, but Thais and Malaysians want them to be [spicy]. This is one of the things that we should know if we want to push a product,” says Lim, whose family operates a chain of shopping malls.
He cites the importance of funding, especially for those who are starting out but who have been refused loans by banks.
Lim adds the city government would put up a center where all products would be sold.
“In three years, we will have thousands of tourists because the Clark airport [in Pampanga] would become the country’s international airport. With the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), it will take only three hours to reach Dagupan from Clark, so we expect many tourists to come here,” he says.
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