By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications
During the Engineered Bamboo Upscaling Project Roadshow led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 6 held in Iloilo City recently, we saw more and better possibilities through which bamboo producers can profit from the commodity.
Some 50 participants representing active bamboo enthusiasts, LGUs, livelihood cooperatives, researchers from the academe and the media flocked to Sarabia Manor Hotel’s Siete Pecados Hall to know what more is in store for bamboo here in the region.
Foremost, the bamboo project framework presented by DTI Region 3 Director Bles Lantayona and Cottage Industry Technology Center (CITC) Director Franklin Bunuan set the parameters into which Iloilo bamboo producers can contribute in the bigger map. The roadmap made it clear that “bamboo has not really become a cash crop for the farmers in the country” therefore more initiatives to beef up the industry can be gained from the Region 3 model. To put it simply, the framework detailed the three pillars targeted by the bamboo initiative, namely: poverty mitigation, disaster mitigation and climate change mitigation.
The roadshow also featured the best practices of Myrna Bituin, bamboo enthusiasts-entrepreneur from Pampanga. Considering herself as DTI baby (bamboo producer who benefited from the DTI initiative since 1972), the Betiscrafts director banks on social responsibility for its personnel and manpower as key to their success.
An active exporter of bamboo products based in Pampanga, Bituin who was Golden Shell Awardee back in the 80s, stressed that small bamboo producers who substantially supply engineered bamboo ought to make money. Bituin said that in bamboo pre-processing itself, everyone involved should already earn, saying, “Kung ang nagtanim ng kawayan ay hindi na manginginabang, bakit pa sila magtatanim?”
Bituin also shared that bamboo technology in China is not necessarily high-technology; only that they see the significant use of each part of the bamboo poles and profit from them. Bituin also encouraged bamboo farmers to use bamboo wisely by being able to rehabilitate and virtually manage the bamboo farm from which they harvest. Furthermore, bamboo producers in Iloilo can also avail themselves of the services of the training center whose technology is offered to everyone.
Among other discussions, DTI enjoined the participants to see themselves as a bamboo hub, an entity supplied by nodes (bamboo subcontractors).
Before the day ended, participants representing bamboo cooperatives and bamboo entrepreneurs joined the small-group discussion led by the guest panel and DTI Region 6.