OURFood … OUR Future
A message from Ms. May Ybanez Executive Director for CCCI.
The solemn commitment of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. to advance the well-being of Cebu so that its citizens and the business community shall prosper in the new global economy is manifested in its engagement with Germany’s AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation and the Philippine Department of Science and Technology in the program aptly named “Optimizing & Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply and Value Chain” (OURFood).
Instead of disorganized and disconnected set of isolated activities, our three organizations have joined forces to apply our energies and resources to the economic interest in the food value chain with its range of stakeholders in the agricultural, manufacturing, commercial and service sectors in Cebu and Negros Islands. With German expertise, this program provides valuable market-oriented, practical and theoretical training and qualification for the different players in the food industry particularly on Food Safety and Food Technology. The synergy from the partnership increases value creation in the primary and manufacturing food sectors.
The Cebu Chamber has also expanded its service portfolio by taking into its wings the Cebu Food Consultancy Group (CFCG) a pool of local experts trained in the field of food safety and food technology. It is to their cachet that the Cebu Chamber is able to provide the MSMEs with technical assistance in the form of training, assessment/internal audit, consultancy, coaching and mentoring services where it matters most to be competitive. The mix of membership converging in the CFCG among government agencies harmonizes and facilitates understanding of the standards and their implementation. This expanded food safety team is now composed of equally competitive and knowledgeable professionals and service providers from the Government, Academe and the Private sectors of Cebu.
Two challenges remain with optimism and a degree of expectation: the Cebu Seal of Excellence Program to promote food quality and safety compliance and branding to local fresh producers, processors and food service establishments on one hand, and advocating food safety standards and legislation with LGUs and regulatory bodies, on the other hand.
The OURFood Program has gone a long way from the industry scanning and profiling of 2012. In looking back, it is no longer naïve to envision the day when GMP, GAP and HACCP become not only part of the vocabulary of the stakeholders in the food industry but become ingrained in the way that our MSMEs are doing business… in farming and in food processing.