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Café aims to bring together gov’t and MSMEs in Soccsksargen

DTI-12 Regional Director Flora Politud-Gabunales (extreme left) and Koronadal City Mayor Eliordo Ogena (2nd from left) led other officials and guests during the reopening ceremonies of the TsokokapeTearia inside the DTI’s Knowledge Management Center located at the Prime Regional Center in Barangay Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City. (Photo courtesy of DTI Region 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-12) has again championed the cause of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) in the Soccsksargen region, as it revived the "TsokoKapeTearia," which provides local entrepreneurs with an avenue to grow and reach new markets.

TsokokapeTearia is a café located inside the DTI’s Knowledge Management Center that serves hot and cold beverages and snacks made from the premium products of DTI-assisted MSMEs.

“Today, we once again open this café together with the first OTOP Nook here in Region 12,” said DTI Regional Director Flora Politud-Gabunales during its opening on Jan. 29.

Gabunales explained that the café will serve as an “additional platform” to massively promote and sell MSMEs products directly to consumers, particularly government offices located at the Prime Regional Center in Barangay Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City, including young professionals in the region.

“If you can recall, we operationalized the TsokoKapeTearia in 2019 with the South Rays Valley Foods Association, Inc. as our cooperator. However, due to the [COVID-19] pandemic, we were forced to close operations in 2020,” she noted, as she clarified that the reopening will help MSMEs further recover from their losses as a result of the pandemic.

The TsokoKapeTearia, which boasts an OTOP Nook, also features a “CARP Negosyo Agraryo Corner,” showcasing the products of farmer-processors under the DTI Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for beneficiaries. (Photo courtesy of DTI Region 12)

TsokokapeTearia also comes with a One Town, One Product, or “OTOP Nook,” which is considered the first of its kind in the region and features delectable food items, trendy wearables, and homestyle products of the region.

The official also described the cafe as a “good place” where young professionals and government employees can sit and relax during breaks while sipping coffee, tsokolate (chocolate), or tea, while reading books, or watching some film clips from their cellphones.

The nook also showcases MSMEs products that have undergone a series of product development interventions under the OTOP’s Assessment, Consultation, and Triage (ACT) session.

Patterned as a strategy from Japan during President Fidel Ramos’ administration, OTOP is a priority stimulus program of the DTI for MSMEs in the country that aims to promote products and services unique to the culture, community resources, and competitive advantage of a locality.

National and local government officials and guests from the MSMEs vowed to support the TsokokapeTearia as an effective platform to push the development of MSMEs products in the Soccsksargen region. (Photo courtesy of DTI Region 12)

Gabunales said that the products and services offered in OTOP hubs are those that localities are best known for.

In line with the initiative, DTI also established a “CARP Negosyo Agraryo Corner,” where products of farmer-processors assisted under the DTI Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program are displayed.

It also launched the new "Treasures of Region 12 Product Catalogue," containing information about what Region 12 MSMEs have to offer, targeting institutional buyers, resellers, exporters, consolidators, and end consumers who can purchase the products from various market channels.

Meanwhile, Gabunales has also encouraged government agencies and the private sector “to show some love and support” by purchasing the products of MSMEs for office or corporate giveaways.

“I enjoin you to support our MSMEs by purchasing OTOP products for your corporate giveaways and even for your personal consumption. And during your break or for small meetings, spend it at our TsokoKapeTearia with a selection of our premium beverages and snacks. Every purchase you make will help our MSMEs support their families and provide employment and income that will stimulate the local economy of Region 12,” Gabunales said, reiterating DTI’s tagline, “Buy local. Be vocal.” (ORVR – PIA Region 12)

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Harlem Jude Ferolino

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Region 12

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