Secretary of the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs Meliadi Sembiring said here on Wednesday that regional administrations could play a big role in the development of cooperatives and SMEs and the marketing of their products.
"Economic gap could be reduced if Cooperatives and SME grow as expected in the regions. I am confident the gap could be reduced if cooperatives and SMEs could catch up with the economic growth," Meliadi said.
He said exhibitions are potential to increase trade transactions and activities.
The recent trade exhibition of the 9th Bengkulu Expo and People's Market held to highlight the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the province of Bengkulu at Sport Center of Pantai Panjang Bengkulu could serve as a forum to increase the popularity of and promote of the local products of cooperatives and SMEs, he cited..
Meliadi said cooperatives and SMEs have big contribution to the country`s economic development as they make up the big majority in number of business players in the country.
"However, we are aware that cooperatives and SMEs have yet to go through a host of difficulties such as limited capital, access to market, and limited skills," he said.
In the era of free trade, the products of cooperatives and SMEs have to compete against with imported products, flooding the domestic market, he said.
Meliadi said he hoped the Bengkulu Expo 2018 could facilitate cooperatives and SMEs in promoting their products and improving their competitiveness and motivating cooperatives and SMEs to explore for business potential to products high quality goods, selling well in international market.
He said he hoped the event like Bengkulu Expo could be held regularly as an annual agenda to bring together domestic or foreign buyers and producers.
Acting Governor of Bengkulu Rohidin Mersyah said the 5-day Bengkulu Expo had strategic role to develop and increase the quality of local commodities to be able to compete in international market.
In addition , the exhibition could improve productivity of UKM to be competitive in global market, Rohidin said.
He said the Bengkulu Expo 2018 also served as a forum to promote investment and for exchange of information business contact in the trade, plantation , agricultural , fishery and banking sectors.
"Through the exhibition we hope that business players could improve their creativity and the quality of their products to be able to compete in domestic and international markets," the governor said.
Reporting by Hanni Sofia
Editing by A Saragih, Fardah A