Processed food industries in Northern Mindanao and the high-value vegetables of Bukidnon have been cited as model clusters in the export industry.


The clustering strategy in the export business has been widely recommended by industry leaders as a way to penetrate more foreign markets especially this time of global financial crisis.


Salvio Valenzuela, executive director of the Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Industries (PCHI), said local exporters have to survive with their declining revenue pie of the shrinking total imports pie of the United States.


“But even if our foreign buyers do not have much buying power, they will still continue to buy because there is still demand in their countries or in the markets we target. Admittedly, sales have declined,” he said.


However, Valenzuela said lack of capital hinders exporters to meet their orders abroad.


“This financing problem can be addressed by adopting clustering of exporters and even subcontractors in the same product line, he added.


“This is the right opportunity for us to cluster ourselves,” he said, adding: “This strategy could reduce operational costs and widen our markets. When they are clustered, an order of one exporter will also be an order of the supplier.”


Industry clustering is one of the strategies under the export development plan, meant to benefit businesses in the regions and provinces in terms of raising productivity and reducing shared manufacturing costs, among others.


Among those that were documented as model clusters were the bottled sardines cluster in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte; the furniture industry in Cebu; the banana, coconut, wood, information technology services, seaweeds and mango clusters in Davao and the processed food cluster in the Caraga region.


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