ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Siocon Subanon Womens' Association Inc. (SSWAI), with the assstance from the TVI Resource Development Inc. (TVIRD), has found better livelihood opportunities in handicraft and bagmaking made of abaca fabric.
The SSWAI is an all-women organization based in Canatuan, an upland barangay in Siocon town, Zamboanga del Norte, and host to the copper and zinc mining operations of TVIRD.
The assistance provided by the TVIRD and SSWAI was by way of training conducted by TVIRD's Community Relations and Development Office (CReDO) with the assistance from the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) provincial office in Zamboanga del Norte.
TVIRD Information Officer Rocky Dimaculangan said a team of trainers, led by FIDA Provincial Officer Wilson Torres supervised and provided technical know-how to the SSWAI members in a weeklong training held last month.
Dimaculangan said the SSWAI has started producing bags made of abaca and their products were displayed at the agro-industrial trade fair during the Zamboanga del Norte Hudyaka Festival in Dapitan City that ended the first week of this month.
TVIRD CReDO program officer Julma Villanueva said that it's quite encouraging that the products were showcased at the tail end of the fair and of the 16 items displayed, only five were not sold.
Torres views the abaca industry in Canatuan, Siocon, as viable for profitable bag-making businesses that will benefit not only the Subanon women, but farmers, as well.
"It only takes hard work, focus and cooperation from this womens' group. The market [for the bags] is not a problem because we can help the women find the market," Torres said.
"Abaca products are in demand worldwide," Torres added citing apart from abaca handicrafts, other products like bond paper, stationeries, and even peso bills and computer chips contain abaca.
Business Mirror, 20 June
Bong Garcia / Correspondent