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Harrods, Sysco, other foreign buyers seek PH food products

Harrods of the United Kingdom, Sysco Corp. of the United States and other large food and retail companies have joined the 9th International Food Exhibition (IFEX)—the first time such large foreign buyers participated in the Manila-based expo, organizers said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), the lead organizers of the event, expect sales of about $33 million from this year’s food and ingredients expo compared to the $22 million worth of orders posted in 2010. IFEX is held every two years.

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Rosario Virginia Gaetos, executive director of the DTI’s export marketing arm Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem) said the bigger venue and the higher number of participants would drive sales growth. There are 720 booths in this year’s show, well above the 300 booths seen during the 8th IFEX, she told reporters at the opening of the trade show.

The previous show only occupied one floor of the SMX Convention Center, while this year’s show will have the entire convention hall as its exhibit area.

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Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told reporters that the greater number of major international food firms will not only help increase IFEX sales but will give Filipino farmer-exporters more opportunities to market their products and secure orders even after the trade show.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo also said that, because many international firms participated in the trade show, the department might decide to hold the IFEX every year.

Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo said having the food trade show every year would allow the country to diversify its exports, which is composed mostly of electronic products.

“The electronics sector can grow at its own pace, but in the meantime, our vision is to increase the share of food in our exports so we have to look at other categories that will help grow the exports sector,” Manalo said.

The IFEX, organized by the Trade and Agriculture departments, is a premier international sourcing hub for the finest ethnic Asian food, ingredients and raw materials.

This year’s IFEX is being held from May 16 to 19.

Since 2004, the show has provided food and beverage companies a venue to promote their products globally and connect with international buyers, importers and retailers.

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TAGS: 9th international food exhibition, Business, foreign buyers, Philippine products
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