Friday, October 23, 2009

Prospects for Iloilo bamboo

By Niño Manaog
RAC Staff

Led by the Iloilo Bamboo Producers for Development, Inc. (IBPD) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Iloilo, the Bamboo Development Symposium held October 08, 2009 at Hotel del Rio featured a good number of speakers who rendered valuable insights for participants which included extension workers and bamboo enthusiasts.

Under the leadership of Wilhelm Malones, DTI provincial director, the Bamboo Development Symposium opened doors for people to take seriously the issues concerning bamboo in Iloilo.

Among others, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s Conrado “Butch” Marquez, himself a partner member of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC), provided the essential information on bamboo and propagation, zeroing in on how it can be possibly grown in one’s own backyard.

Various bamboo products sold and
consigned at FITS Center in Maasin, Iloilo

Then Dr. Rico Cabangon’s lecture on bamboo processing technologies enjoined bamboo producers to dig deeper into what more can be done for bamboo aside from basically using it as material for handicrafts. Representing the Forest Products Research Institute (FPRDI) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Cabangon provided an incisive look at treating the raw material in order to produce high-quality bamboo raw materials and products. Cabangon also enjoined bamboo farmers to seek help from their office. FPRDI is willing to assist enthusiasts on bamboo processing technologies including lamination, bleaching, dyeing and special effects finishing.

Interestingly, Mr. Franklin Bunoan, director of Cottage Industry Technology Center based in Marikina City, opened a discussion forum on Kalikasan, Kabuhayan, Kawayan: OPLAN: 124K Silyang Kawayan,” an initiative coursed through his office in an effort to provide a good market for bamboo producers. They project to provide 124, 000 school desks made of bamboo for the elementary schools across the country.

Zeroing in on the mathematics of this project, Bunoan went on to say that in all, the project will require 300 desks per month to meet the deadline. And this would mean they would need 79, 200 slats per month. Bunoan said not all areas identified for sources can supply such demand, saying “We can’t do it if we just sit idly.”

Yet, in essence it provided the fact that bamboo farmers, at least here in Iloilo, have something to hope for with this kind of project that will surely occupy their time. Perhaps this can be a good way for bamboo farmers to earn in these dire times. Ms. Glenda Dagdag president of Iloilo Bamboo Producers for Development, Inc. (IBPD) reported a situationer of the status of bamboo in Iloilo. Dagdag claimed that the data included in her presentation needed more input from bamboo stakeholders themselves, enjoining the participants to beef up the province’s bamboo profile.

Moreover, as part of the Bamboo Market Week initiated by DTI, our very own Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Norberto Ceballos, the LGU of Maasin famed for its quality bamboo along with many other exhibitors, displayed their bamboo novelty items, products and handicrafts in a one week exhibit at the SM City Mandurriao.

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