8.10.2010

PIA News Service - Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Agusan Sur agsam weavers get P1.6 M deal

Residents from a mountainous and almost inaccessible area in Agusan del Sur are busy filling up an order worth P1.6 million from a Cebu-based exporter.

The Lucac, Bitan-agan, Das-agan (LUBIDA) Agsam Handicraft Weavers Association clinched said deal from 33Point 3 Exports, Inc.

This big break happened to LUBIDA’s agsam basket when it was showcased during the Yamang Mindanao Fair at General Santos City early this year. The product caught the attention of Mr. Jenifer Cruz, owner of 33Point3 Exports, Inc. With a keen eye for exceptional products, he was optimistic the agsam basket would make it big in the international scene. True enough, a US-based buyer got interested in marketing the product in its chain of specialty stores.

LUBIDA’s deal involved producing some 10,428 pieces of agsam baskets which it delivers to its big brother on a weekly basis.

Mr. Cruz is a “big brother” identified under the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Subcontracting Project for Innovation or SPIN.

SPIN is a strategy to trickle down economic growth to the poorest of the poor. It encourages entrepreneurship specifically in former conflict areas. The big brother program matches exporters to subcontractors in the rural areas so that people in these areas can immediately generate income.

Mr. Cruz collaborated with DTI-Caraga and DTI Agusan del Sur Provincial Office to embark on Skills Enhancement Training for Agsam Craft Production right at the raw material source at Barangay Lucac, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. The 4-day skills enhancement training was attended by some seventy (70) weavers of LUBIDA Agsam Handicrafts Weavers Association and eleven (11) from Lanuza, Surigao del Sur. To ensure quality output, Mr. Cruz brought with him a trusted product designer Mr. Nick Mortejo. The training proved successful as the trainers were able to execute the four (4) designs/samples of the buyer and according to the quality standards.

More trainings on agsam basket making are on-going in other areas of the region. The big brother plans to expand coverage and train more skilled workers also in Agusan del Norte and Bislig City. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)

Caraga Product Depot: from mere display to being a business activity center

The regional product display center dubbed Caraga Product Depot which showcases the region’s food, furniture, and arts & crafts sector products now also hosts related business activities.

It has become a negotiation area for interested buyers of Caraga products, a business meeting venue for the region’s entrepreneurs and a training area for would-be entrepreneurs and those who want to go into other product lines.

The depot located along the Butuan City’s main highway was established to allow tourists, both local and foreign, to have a regular area to shop for pasalubong and souvenir items. It now has some forty-four (44) micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) locators.

Alongside the depot is the Caraga CLEEP (Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program) Station. This space which is equipped with common service facilities such as flexi-wrap packaging machine, wi-fi internet connection and business info materials is open to all Caraga entrepreneurs.

The product depot and the CLEEP station spread is also a venue for trainings and workshops such as the Kiddie Go Negosyo Summer Workshops on coco beads fashion accessories making, ornamental fish culture, painting and kitchen camp and cooking demonstration which were held for a very minimal registration fee. The workshops were aimed at orienting the children on the basics of entrepreneurship by letting them experience the actual business processes of production, marketing, costing and pricing.

The place which was formally opened to the public last February 22, 2010 during the Caraga Week Celebration recently, started its weekend garage sale for bargain seekers. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


Caraga State U to host 2nd Pangasius techno demo pond

A second techno-demo pond for Pangasius will be established soon at the Caraga State University (CSU) campus in Ampayon, Butuan City.

Pangasius, a family of catfish, is a specie that is primarily farmed in Asia with Vietnam as the established major exporter.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Caraga Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran said Pangasius farming is currently promoted in the region because of the reported growing demand in the domestic market and as replacement for current imports being made from Vietnam.

The CSU techno demo pond project kicked off with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the President of the Caraga State University, Dr. Joanna Cuenca and BMEG In-charge for Mindanao, Neil Jabagat. Signing as stakeholders and providers of technical support to the project are Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Nerio Casil and DTI RD Pagaran.

The techno demo pond inside the CSU campus is expected to benefit agriculture and fishery students by providing them the opportunity to gain practical learning by actual exposure to the culture, management and operation of the Pangasius pond.

The said facility will also host Pangasius Techno Briefings which were also conducted every Friday at the 1st Pangasius Techno Demo Pond at Den’s Aqua Farm in Libertad, Butuan City. The briefings are aimed to ensure that the appropriate culture practices are passed on to growers, provide interested growers with a “model” to benchmark their own operation, and provide would-be growers/investors with the opportunity to clarify and air their concerns relevant to farming pangasius such as technology, product quality, market and project viability.

Formal launching for the 2nd demo pond is set within the 3rd quarter of this year. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


P 282 Million loans released to micro entrepreneurs in Caraga Region

A total of P 282,134,650 loans have been released to 21,123 micro entrepreneurs in Caraga region through the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program (RuMEPP).

The loans averaging at P15,000 per micro entrepreneur were availed from RuMEPP’s partner micro finance institutions or MFIs in the region.

Caraga has eight (8) partner microfinance institutions for the RuMEPP program. They include the six pioneer MFIs - Green Bank of Caraga, Peoples Bank of Caraga, Enterprise Bank, Talacogon Multipurpose Development Cooperative, Siargao Rural Bank and Rural Bank of Placer and the more recent additions - Rural Bank of Cantilan and Socorro Empowered Cooperative.

Almost half of the total loan funds were released in Agusan del Norte amounting to P134.5 million with 13,152 borrowers mainly through the Green Bank of Caraga. Agusan del Sur got the second highest amount of loan releases from the program amounting to P67.2 million for some 2,947 micro entrepreneurs. Following closely is Surigao del Sur with P59.3 million released to 4,311 micro entrepreneurs. Surigao del Norte cornered only 7% with P21.1 million released to 527 micro entrepreneurs.

RuMEPP is a seven-year, US$22.826 million programme assisted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with the Department of Trade & Industry as the lead implementing agency.

DTI’s attached agency - Small Business Corporation (SB) implements the micro finance component while the Regional Operations and Development Group (RODG) through its five regional offices and 19 provincial offices, takes care of the micro enterprise development component.

RuMEPP aims to help poor entrepreneurs and rural families in the country by providing them access to credit and other financial services coupled with business development services such as capacity-building, market linkages and product development.

The program is implemented in the poorest 19 provinces in five of the poorest regions in the country, focusing on areas with the highest potential for enterprise development. Its primary objective is to see increasing numbers of new and existing rural microenterprises expanding and operating profitably and sustainably. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)



CReATE Food to create food village

A food village will soon be established in the region.

The “village” will basically house common service food processing facilities that are compliant to the requirements of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD). The latter is a shared need among local food processors who find it difficult to pass BFAD’s licensing requirements due to the high investment needed to put the right facilities individually.

This project is being pushed by the Caraga Regional Association of Traders and Entrepreneurs in Food or CReATE Food, an organization of food processors in the region. As of this writing, negotiations are underway for the final location of CReATE Food’s food village.

The project is fully supported by the WE CAN in Visayas and Caraga (Working on the Enhancement of the Chamber and Association Network) and the AFOS Foundation. AFOS Foundation is the implementing arm of the Federation of Catholic Entrepreneurs (BKU) which was appointed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to implement the chamber and association development project which will run from August 2009 to July 2012 here in the region.

According to Dr. Stephan Kunz of WE CAN and AFOS and project team member Teri Pono of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry CReATE Food as a partner-recipient of the project will enjoy trainings and capability building opportunities, consultancy services and funds for the establishment of their food village. In addition, Engr. Roderico Cane, CReATE Food President is scheduled for a six-month training and exposure to food processing industries in Germany.

Other project partners who committed support to the project are the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). DOST committed to provide a grant for the facility’s equipment, laboratory services for the nutri facts assessment, trainings on food safety, consultancy services and packaging and labeling design assistance and possibly negotiate a 3,000 square meter area at the Caraga State University campus. TESDA’s support would include re-skilling or upskilling trainings and capability building of the members of the organization, provision of certified skilled manpower thru their qualified tech-voc graduates, members of the maintenance team for its ancillary services (plumbers, welders, electricians, aircon/cold storage technicians) and skilled manpower during the construction stage of the proposed village.

CReATE Food is the formalized or registered group from the processed food industry cluster. It currently operates the OTOP Pasalubong Center located at the ground floor of Gaisano Mall, this city. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)