Bohol facility to help weavers

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched last Friday a shared service facility (SSF) worth P4.76 million for loomweavers in the quake-stricken municipality of Tubigon, Bohol.

According to DTI, instead of the traditional bamboo reed handlooms that can produce 24-inch woven fabric, the Raffia SSF will upgrade the weaver’s capabilities to weave 72-inch woven fabric through wide metal framed reed handlooms.

The facility is provided with 15 units of new and upgraded handlooms and other production equipment and tools. It will also provide weavers with laboratory equipment and drying facility to help improve the quality of bleached and dyed raffia fibers.


The DTI said the facility expects to help around 200 weavers and raw materials processors in Tubigon.


The Raffia SSF project, which is spearheaded by the DTI, is implemented in partnership with the Municipality of Tubigon, Bohol, DAR Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, Ayala Foundation, Philippine-Australia Community Assistance, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Fundacion Santiago and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TLMPC) is the main cooperator of the Raffia SSF. It was organized in 1989 to support the loomweaving industry while developing and creating sustainable employment and job opportunities for housewives in Pinayagan Norte, Tubigon.

In the last 25 years, the cooperative has been engaged in the production and marketing of raffia loomwoven fabric directly to local shops, hotels and exporters from Cebu and Manila.

Boost industry

DTI 7 director Asteria Caberte said the establishment of the facility is meant to boost competitiveness of the country’s loomweaving industry and help bring back livelihood and normalcy after the strong earthquake that hit the province last October.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake damaged the TLMPC Production Center. Its clearing and rehabilitation work have been funded by the cash for work projects of the government and NGOs.

With the facility already operational, DTI projects a boost in sales and production as well as market reach.

Prior to the SSF, production volume for placemats only stood at 3,872 while rolls were at 484. With the SSF, it is expected to increase to 5,808 and 1,210 respectively.

Prior to the SSF, loomweavers only generated average monthly sales of P266,000 but with the new facility, DTI expects sales to increase to an average of P550,000 per month.

Higher income

Their products will also become more competitive in the global market because from P75 per meter, the roll can now be sold at an average of P200 per meter, which translates to better income and better standard of living among the weavers.

Market reach of weavers back then were only limited to Manila and Cebu exporters, from now on, DTI said they would be penetrating US, Japan and Europe.

On top of providing laboratory equipment and tools, the facility will also help develop a new production division of TLMPC to cater to the export market and shift to marketing high-end product lines.

It also intends to mix raffia with silk, cotton, polyester, pandan, abaca, cogon grass, and corn husk, among others, to upgrade the product to more sophisticated markets.

To enter the high-end fabric market, the DTI is partnering with the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and Cebu Interlace Weavers Corp., a Cebu-based French company for the co-development of new fabrics.

Although, product development is still ongoing, the DTI said the project has received visits from major buyers such as Issey Miyake, a Japanese manufacturer of clothes, perfume, and bags; and Hermes and has been presented to known European brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 05, 2014.


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