DTI seeks market for Bicol ‘bayong’

September 8, 2010 6:37 am 

By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug 7 –- Basket (bayong) weaving in Bicol is an industry whose importance that could be traced from way back the primitive times is being targeted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for development in favor of local economies while contributing to global efforts in mitigating the negative effects of climate change.

“We wanted to find markets for Bicol bayongs handcrafted by our weavers in the barrios whose expertise passed on to them by the old generations. These are good home-made products derived from indigenous materials like karagumoy, anahaw and abaca, among other plants abundant mostly in the wilds of the region,” DTI regional director Jocelyn Blanco on Monday here said.

There are existing markets but too small to absorb the output of an industry-scale production that is why the DTI now is going around local entrepreneurs and weavers to convince them to expand their product lines to be able to offer the buying public more acceptable products.

In Catanduanes, the Bicol island province that accounts for the best lines of bayongs made from abaca and karagumoy, Blanco said,

Addressing last week the Focused Group Discussion (FGD) for Bayong Development in Virac, the capital town that was attended by weavers and local officials, including representatives of national agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs), Blanco said she stressed on exploring the existing market to find out what it wants.

There were suggestions that weavers come out with bayongs designed for packing crabs which would be very useful to the shipments of both live and cooked crab by traders in the province which is a leading supplier of mud and blue crabs to mainland markets as far as Metro Manila and Central Luzon, Blanco said.

Another suggestion was bayongs designed as carrier bags for fighting cocks which Blanco said presented by Virac Councilor Lemuel Surtida to his mayor Jose Alberto II, a cock fighting aficionado and known cock breeder who ships his stocks to different parts of the country.

The mayor liked the idea which he said would do away with carrier bags that are made out of cardboards, sometimes woods or metals that are not as environment-friendly as the native bayongs, according to Blanco.

Sponsored by the DTI in coordination with the Catanduanes provincial government, the FGD, she said intends to hold a planning workshop to come up with a practical plan for the advancement of the local bayong industry.

It was primarily initiated to evaluate the status of this centuries-old industry vis-a-vis issues and concerns on the different aspects of its development such as production, marketing, organizational management and finance.

The activity was aimed at coming out with an action plan detailing projects to be submitted to the provincial government for adoption and inclusion into its priority local development programs.

The DTI, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Provincial Agricultural Support Office (PASO), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Catanduanes State college (CSC) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) would serve as support agencies to the project.

The Catanduanes Producers Association (CPA), a 200-strong group of small and medium scale industry-owners in the province had also vowed support to the project, according to the DTI regional chief.

The FGD participants were likewise also tackled matters regarding climate change and why bayong is being promoted as one answer to mitigating its negative effects.

As a designated “Bayong Champion of Catanduanes”, Blanco challenged Catanduanons to do their share in keeping the province pristine by coming up with more bayongs as packaging materials to replace plastics thus helping the problems on non-biodegradable wastes that contributes to the ill-effects of climate change.(PNA)

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