When COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020, this caused unimaginable economic and social disruption across the globe. As it topped the headlines with alarming number of deaths attributed to the virus, this prompted authorities to adopt unprecedented number of measures to prevent massive transmission.
In the Bangsamoro region, imposition of lockdown became an immediate resolve of the authorities. This measure along with other health protocols curtailed people’s mobility which then affected various social gathering and economic activities including the annual Ramadhan Trade Fair.
On April 6, the Ministry of Trade, Investment, and Tourism (MTIT) officially launched this year’s Ramadhan Trade Fair, located within the Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) in Cotabato City.
The fair bears the theme “Sustaining Economic Resiliency through Faith and Tradition”.
“Despite the challenges brought by pandemic, we have successfully organized this activity to help our Small and Micro-Enterprises (SMEs) to sustain their operation and continue providing employment for their workers,” said MTIT Minister Abu Amri Taddik during the fair’s ceremonial opening.
MTIT has invited 45 local producers and entrepreneurs to showcase, promote, and sell their respective halal food products and services.
Among the exhibitors, Leya Cristbelle Yap, owner of a start-up local restaurant in Cotabato City, thanked the BARMM government for the initiative of supporting local business owners.
“I opted to join here in Ramadhan Fair to advertise my restaurant. We are inviting all consumers and buyers to come and support us and we will give you a unique experience and quality products,” she said.
Also part of the fair is the MAFARamadhan of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), wherein 36 exhibitors are farmers and fisherfolks. This gives the employees in the BGC and other constituents an opportunity to conveniently buy fresh, nutritious, and affordable agricultural and poultry products, and other value-added products.
“This is one way of promoting the products of our farmers. We are confident that their products are of high quality and halal,” said MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob.
Meanwhile, BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua emphasized in his speech the importance of supporting the local entrepreneurs by showcasing and promoting their products and services in sustaining economic resiliency.
“Our authentic delicacies and established businesses must be showcased to continually encourage and motivate our local producers in their journey to entrepreneurship,” said Macacua.
He added that the local products are manifestation of faith and tradition of the Bangsamoro.
To ensure the safety and well-being of the visitors in the fair, five institutional booths were put in place which include that of the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM), Ministries of Health (MOH), Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE), Trade, Investment, and Tourism ( MTIT), and the Intelligence and Security Services (ISS). (Abdullah Matucan/BIO)