Thursday, December 03, 2009

WESVARRDEC members prop up bamboo initiative

By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

It is noteworthy that some LGU members of the WESVARRDEC family openly took on the bamboo initiative during the Engineered Bamboo Upscaling Project Roadshow led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 6 held on December 02, 2009 at Sarabia Manor Hotel’s Siete Pecados Hall in Iloilo City.

Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center Manager Ronelyn de Tomas of Dumalag, Capiz considered the roadshow a good opportunity through which she can help train the bamboo farmers in their locality. Although their FITS Center was newly launched they have been making efforts to train their potential Magsasaka Siyentista in various exposures. According to De Tomas, they are not only interested but are also committed to taking on the bamboo initiative as this can help more cooperators in their community’s organization.

In late July this year, members of FITS Dumalag toured FITS Maasin in an effort to replicate in their own area the popular bamboo technology found in Maasin, Iloilo. The contingent was led by WESVARRDEC RACO Coordinator Cora Navarra.

De Tomas is currently grooming Randy Fancubila, a furniture maker chairman of a 28-member community cooperative to become their future Magsasaka Siyentista (MS). Since the inception of their cooperative, Fancubila has been sent to a series of seminars and trainings in various locations. Next year, De Tomas will apply for the evaluation of their potential MS by WESVARRDEC.

By and large, the initiative taken by Dumalag, among others, is way beyond optimism. Mr. Fancubila’s wood machinery background is a plus since the same types of technology can easily be utilized to beef up bamboo production, notwithstanding his interest and willingness to be trained on the technology. Mr. Fancubila himself envisions Dumalag, being the biggest town in the area, to serve as bamboo hub of Tapaz, Dumarao and neighboring towns of Capiz in the future.

Also supporting the bamboo initiative were Maasin FITS Manager Luzvisminda Casio, who has been championing Maasin bamboo, and FITS Manager Jose Ebalan of Igbaras, Iloilo.

Meanwhile, WESVARRDEC itself has taken on the bamboo initiative to a higher level by promoting bamboo products from FITS Center Maasin in various expositions. This year alone, Regional Applied Communications (RAC) Coordinator Cora Navarra and Staff Niño Manaog brought and promoted the bamboo products by MS Norberto Ceballos and other subcontractors to the Panaad sa Negros Festival in April and also sold functional bamboo products in PCARRD’s 37th Anniversary in Los Baños in November.

To bring the bamboo products closer to commercialization, WESVARRDEC will host the Local Product Team (LPT) Workshop with FITS Maasin. The LPT initiative will further define what projects to pursue for bamboo products and innovation for FITS Maasin (for example, bamboo lamination technology) through the intervention of PCARRD under its Technomart initiative which is currently in full swing. PCARRD’s Applied Communication Division (ACD) will take charge of the LPT workshop early next year.

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