By Chito Chavez
Four agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBO) from Eastern Visayas expect increased sales and higher revenues for their handicraft in 2020 after undergoing skills training on enhancing the quality and designs of their products.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region 8 Director Stephen Leonidas said the ARBOs chosen to undergo the training were the Macalpi Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MCMPC) in Carigara, Leyte; the Hantag Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (HFMPC) in Maasin City, Southern Leyte; the Villahermosa Oriental Farmers and Fisherfolks Association (VOFFA) in Pagsanghan, Samar; and the Cabacungan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMPC) in Allen, Northern Samar.
DAR Central Office commissioned last year a nationwide training to boost the marketability of the handicraft manufactured by farmers utilizing available raw materials in their area.
MCMPC is into plant-holder making using coco coir as raw material; HFMPC is into sinamay-weaving using abaca; VOFFA is into bag and hat making using buri; while CMPC is also into bag and hat making but using romblon as its raw material.
Marlene Ajihari of the CMPC said the two-day training helped them beef-up their skillsets in handicraft making which will result in higher income.
“The designs were simple and limited and the size of their bags was fixed,” Ajihari said.
During the training, the beneficiaires learned more designs and the use of other raw materials available in their area, such as shells, as they are living along the shoreline, she added.
She emphasized that they also learned to be flexible and not to limit the sizes of their products.
After the training, Ajihari showed their outputs to a retired teacher in the neighborhood and instantly received orders.
Another CMPC member, Consolacion Cabacang, 75, learned a lot from the training even though she had been a weaver since she was 14 years old.
For the VOFFA members, they are used to producing bags only as containers for crabs that are sold in their town with each costing P40.
With the training, Rosalinda Cubay of VOFFA said their group now “is inspired to produce fashionable bags and other accessories and sell them at a higher price.”
In Carigara, Cynthia Bodo thanked DAR for exposing them to different trainings to help them earn higher.
“Aside from plant-holders, they got ideas from the training to produce also other items, such as lamp shades, using coco coir,” Bodo said.