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OPPORTUNITIES FROM NEW DISCOVERIES
Galangan is a local and native variety of banana in Sabangan, Mt. Province. People usually just ignore this variety of banana. It is left eaten by birds, pigs and other animals. Residents say it’s edible but not pleasant with its tacky texture.
But the Losad Livelihood Interest Group, organized and supported by the CHARM2 Project, changed the fate of the Galangan banana. After some experiments with other banana varieties, the group discovered that Galangan is best and suitable to their new banana chip business.
STARTING THE BUSINESS
Organized in 2015, the Losad LIG proposed the processing of banana chips as their livelihood activity. They were then awarded with P90,000 livelihood assistance fund (LAF) that they used to purchase kitchen equipments and ingredients for their banana chip processing business.
In 2017, they were assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry by training on processing. The agency also provided them with their product label. Michelle B. Angel, president of the organization said they are yet planning to improve their product and hopefully expand their small business and group.
The group is under the Losad Community Organization Inc., which is their mother LIG during CHARMP2. Now, they are also planning to have their group registered so they could avail of more assistance especially from the government.
The group is composed of 15 members with only one male member. “Usually, the male member does the banana harvesting ‘agtebbag ti saba’ while the women do most of the kitchen jobs,” Michelle said.
Processing of their banana chip products is done twice a month or depending on the availability of Galangan. “The banana plant grows for a year,” Michelle said. They and some community members have also started to grow Galangan since it is already marketable for banana chips.
They buy raw Galangan at P1.00 per piece from members and from the community. They usually process around 350 pcs of Galangan in one setting. In each processing, they are able to produce around 170-180 packs of banana chips weighing 100 grams each pack. They sold it whole sale for only P20/pack and is usually retailed at P25/pack.
“We sell it to local stores. We also have orders from Baguio customers and overseas workers who buy it as their ‘pasalubong,’ said Michelle. “We started marketing our product in 2016,” she added.
Members who work during the processing are paid on daily basis. “Around six to seven members are enjoined during processing and are paid P200 a day,” they said. Michelle added that in every processing cycle they make sure that they deposit some income in their association, even though it is minimal since they have to deduct all their processing expenses including the labor cost.
In 2017, they have a net income of around P10,000, which they decided to keep as their revolving capital. Although the group is earning minimal from the business, they are still happy that they can contribute to their family income and are able to hone their business skills. // CBOrcales
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Members of the International Fund for Agricultural Development and National Economic and Development Authority (IFAD-NEDA) supervision and implementation support (SIS) Mission Team heard and learned from the CHARMP2 Scale-Up beneficiaries with regards to the Projects approach and processes in the implementation of the various subprojects under the Scale-Up.
Yolando Arban, IFAD team leader, Fatima-Zorah Yogoub, IFAD PRM Partnership Officer, Nikki Bermudez, NEDA-Central representative, Sharon Africano, NEDA-CAR representative and Project Staff visited four Scale-Up barangays to learn from the beneficiaries and the community as a whole.
The team visited four towns in the Cordilleras particularly barangay Bugnay of Tinglayan, Kalinga, barangay Calafug of Conner, Apayao, barangay Pongayan of Kapangan and barangay Pappa of Sablan, Benguet.
Project beneficiaries and stakeholders shared their stories of how they became beneficiaries of the project, the activities and processes they have encountered as they implement their subprojects, their plans and their hopes and expectations as members and beneficiaries of the various organizations and associations organized by the Project.
Likewise, the issues and concerns of both the beneficiaries and IFAD Mission team were raised and discussed to give light to issues on project implementation and explore possible solutions to specific concerns.
Of the communities visited, beneficiaries narrated some of the processes and activities they went through. The series of barangay orientations conducted by the Project components is one of the basic activities they have attended. The orientations conducted served as venue for the community members to know what the Project is all about.
Aside from the orientations, trainings, field visits to CHARMP2 sites, forums with CHARMP2 beneficiaries and actual demonstrations of what the beneficiaries learned during the farmer business school and farmer field schools were discussed.
Expanding the association’s membership and becoming a cooperative are just some of the future plans of the Project beneficiaries.
Mr. Basilio Batani from the Pappa Indigenous Agro-Forestry Farmers Association (PIAFA) of Sablan, Benguet expressed his hopes that the assistance coming from the Project will be continuing even after the Project has ended.//mjmaguide