Philippine delegates to Agra Middle East 2023 showcase Soccsksargen’s agri-food products

In its commitment to elevate the global presence of the Philippines’ agri-food products, the Department of Agriculture (DA), via the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), took part in Agra Middle East (AgraME) 2023. This event, one of the most significant agricultural trade shows in the Middle East, was held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE, from October 9 to 10, 2023.

The primary objective of the team’s participation in AgraME 2023 was to provide valuable market linkages to DA-assisted young farmers and MSMEs, which can assist in increasing their sales and international market presence.

The DA pavilion displayed various Philippine agri-products, such as fresh fruits, processed foods, and coco coir. The DA also facilitated business-to-business (B2B) meetings, market assessments, and meetings with the Dubai Municipality to inform the exhibitors about the export requirements in the UAE.



The Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the UAE, Alfonso Ferdinand A. Ver, and Consul General Renato Duenas Jr. also graced the event.

The Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 12 was also part of the Philippine delegation and showcased Soccsksargen’s (Region 12) agricultural products.

“The region’s participation in the Agra Middle East is essential to showcase and promote emerging export potential commodities produced by our young farmers. Recognized as the country’s hub for coffee and tuna, our region also boasts a range of other products that are competitive and primed for larger market opportunities,” said OIC Chief for Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Abdulkadil Ango.

According to Ango, the event was bolstered by the technical support of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service and its regional equivalent, with additional backing from Dubai’s agriculture attaché, Nolet Fulgencio. The regional delegations went beyond the conventional exhibits, which typically focus on product display and on-site sales.

They also highlighted the region’s rich cultural heritage by donning traditional attire. Through B2B activities, the exhibitors had the opportunity to engage with potential institutional buyers from renowned supermarkets in the Emirates, such as Lulu Hypermarket, Almaya, Choitrams, and WestZone.



They carried with them the products of UF Vanilla Farm/Urban Farms PH, owned by Melvin Awid from Maitum, Sarangani province, whose value-added vanilla products attracted numerous inquiries. They also showcased RT Foods Mfg., represented by Trexie Marie Tan of General Santos, known for their banana flour and chips. Several buyers and investors showed interest in their products, leading to discussions about potential market collaborations and investment partnerships in the region.

“My participation in AGRAMe in Dubai was not merely a representation of my social enterprise. It was a platform to exhibit the vibrant culture and rich heritage of my region. This opportunity allowed me to spotlight the potential investment prospects in Sarangani and the entirety of Region 12. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this possible,” expressed Awid.

Both Awid and Tan were regional winners in the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) program, advancing to the YFC Upscale program, where Awid won. He is now set to compete in the national category of the YFC Upscale program.



AgraME, which is scheduled again for October 7-8, 2024, is a prominent trade event in the agribusiness sector that takes place in the Middle East to highlight the importance of sustainable food production and food security with minimal environmental impact.

It serves as a meeting point for global innovators, local industry participants, and investors from crop and animal farming, including health, aquaculture, horticulture, and agratech sectors in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

With over 100 exhibitors and more than 5,000 attendees, it offered a platform to explore new products and solutions, interact with exhibitors, participate in conferences and seminars addressing industry challenges, and network with influencers from the MEA region and around the world.

“We encourage our small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, young farmers, and established agri-food businesses that are prepared for export, capable of meeting the buyer’s volume and standards, and are open to expanding their business through investment collaborations to join us,” Ango said.

Reiterating the relevance of this event in bringing to the next level Philippine agricultural products, Ango said that DA-RFO 12’s AMAD is open “to guide and support your business venture by promoting your products in both domestic and international markets. We are just a call or text away.”(Genory Vanz Alfasain/Voice of the Youth Network)

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