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DOST trains CamNorte folks to raise income by making baskets from vines

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 01:53 AM    Views : 2408by:Rizalina K. Araral - S&T Media Service

Two and a half years ago, the townsfolk in Basud, Camarines Norte had very little livelihood skills. They made money mainly by making charcoal and planting rice. But their income was not enough-- they could not even afford small conveniences such as a pair of rubber shoesto complete a decent garb.

Today, Basud folks are looking forward to a strongly-woven future. Thru a forest-based livelihood project by the Depatment of Science and Technology's Forest Product Research and Development Institute, in partnership with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), many of them have learned to make baskets from local vines. They sell the baskets in the local public market and in trade fairs to raisethe needed cash for their families.

"DOST-FPRDI will continue to be on hand for training and technical assistance in forest-based livelihood project," said DOST Secretary Mario Montejo. "This is in consonance with DOST's commitment to help improve the economic conditions of Filipinos, especially the community folks."

"Our work in Basud started in 2010," says Dr. Emelyne C. Cortiguerra, project staff. "We worked with people's organizations in three Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) areas there to teach the townsfolk how to make wise use of their non-timber forest resources. We trained them how to sustainably harvest their local vines, and how to make baskets using basic and advanced techniques."

The project also helped the folks market their products by linking them with trade fair organizers and Southgate Ltd., a baskets exporter. The baskets reportedly sell very well during trade fairs and at the local public market.

According to For. Robert A. Natividad, project leader, "Now that our work on the project is almost over, it is encouraging how various government groups are willing to help sustain the livelihood of members of the Basud Handicraft Producers Association (BHPA) after we leave."

"The LGU, for instance, pledged to showcase the products in a display center, while the DOST-Provincial Science and Technology Office of Camarines Norte promised to provide grants-in-aid to acquire a handicraft dryer," said Natividad. "The DTI provincial office, on the other hand, is involved in the crafting of medium and long term plans to sustain support for the BHPA."

"While all this is encouraging," adds Cortiguerra, "what is really rewarding is seeing how people's lives have improved. This is true not only in Basud but also in the two other areas where we implemented the project, namely in Tagkawayan and Atimonan, Quezon."

"The last time I was in Tagkawayan," she recounts, "Mang Ponciano, the leader of a forest-based people's organization, proudly showed me his brand new rubber shoes. He said he was finally able to buy one, many thanks to his wife's weaving skills."

"In Atimonan, the mothers we trained tell us that because they now earn more, they can now give allowances to their children who go to school. One mother said that after selling baskets, her family - for the very first time - was able to enjoy a simple Noche Buena meal last Christmas."



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