MANILA, November 25, 2003 (STAR) With its size and the diversity of its climate and landscape, Nueva Vizcaya is a fast-developing province. proof of this is a trade fair dubbed "NV Goes to Alabang" featuring quality products ranging from fresh agricultural produce, native crafts, household decors, gift items, processed foods and furniture from 40 leading manufacturers of Nueva Vizcaya. Held recently in Festival Supermall in Filinvest Corporate City Alabang, Muntinlupa, the event was organized by the Nueva Vizcaya provincial office, DTI, and the Caraballo and Southern Cordillera Agricultural Development Program (CASCADE). The trade fair presented the rich and unique entrepreneurial heritage of the Novo Vizcayanos.

The opening ceremony was led by Department of Agriculture Secretary Luis P. Lorenzo Jr., Ambassador and Head of European Commission delegation to the Philippines Jan De Kok, Gov. Rodolfo Q. Agbayani, CASCADE project co-directors Georges Dehoux and Filiberto Guzman, DA Usec. Edmund Sana, Henric Hettinga of the Embassy of Netherlands, Jose Cortez of the Embassy of Spain, and representatives from DTI Region 2, provincial local government unit, and partner agencies of CASCADE.

In his speech, Sec. Lorenzo paid tribute to the organizers for their relentless effort to promote exchanges of products between regions. For his part, Ambassador De Kok recognized the role of women as micro entrepreneurs who braved through the challenges of the times. Gov. Agbayani echoed the same sentiments. He proudly reported that Nueva Vizcaya is now operating as a first-class province and holds the distinction of being counted among the top 10 provinces in the country with the lowest number of households living below the poverty line.

"In a favorable climate of production, consumption and its multiplier effects, the local economy will certainly grow and flourish and the beautiful image of the province shall be further enhanced particularly on present development areas of focus," Agbayani said in his speech during the ceremony.

Nueva Vizcaya’s industry has indeed metamorphosed from a lowly broom maker to a principal supplier of citrus fruits and world-class furniture. The figures speak for themselves. According to DTI Nueva Vizcaya, the seven- day trade fair yielded almost P2- million gross sales and P3-million bookings or advance orders.

"We are fortunate to have this kind of opportunity to promote our products to the city. We thank CASCADE and DTI for the assistance and support they have been providing over the years," Aster Lopez, 50, a housewife who runs the Lopez Farms and HOMM food products.

Simultaneous with the trade fair, the first ever Nueva Vizcaya Product Catalogue was launched. The 100-page catalogue includes an up-to-date list and contact numbers of agro entrepreneurs, processed food manufacturers, furniture and native craft suppliers, among others. For more information, call CASCADE Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Office at (078) 8051059 (look for Jemelle Milanes) or CASCADE Central Office at (078) 321-2605/321-4128 (look for Loverlyn Caluya or Jenny Bugarin.)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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