Bamboo community in Talim Island being linked to financiers, mechanizers to boost plantation income
October 17, 2018
A seemingly lowly bamboo craft business has sustained the livelihood of a Talim Island community but awaits partners in mechanization and financing so as to step up into a more organized enterprise.
The bamboo stick producers of Ginoong Sanay, Talim Island, Laguna de Bay, is being linked with partners in financing and machine supply by the Ecosystems Research & Devt. Bureau (ERDB) in its hope to help them upgrade as a more profitable business.
ERDB has recommended the group’s more formal organization and increased investments in bamboo planting.
ERDB Director Dr. Sofio B. Quintana given assistance in plantation financing, micro enterprises like this in Brgy. Ginoong Sanay can grow significantly into a bigger venture.
Credit assistance in bamboo plantation and the aid of machinery will enable the Ginoong Sanay micro enterprise to supply their own raw material needs and even expand into other more profitable bamboo products.
More valued products such as bamboo beds, bamboo sofa, and bamboo table are already made by other barangays in Talim Island.
“They should establish linkage with LGUs and nongovernment institutions including the private sector for any technical and financial assistance they may need, such as the bamboo stick drying machine. They should plant more bamboos in order to sustain their supply of raw materials,” according to ERDB.
Bamboo has been proven to be a versatile crop that flourished in Talim Island even though the island has not been suitable for planting other crops.
“Talim’s craggy terrain may be hostile to other crops, but bamboo particularly the Kawayan Tinik variety grows abundantly on its slopes,” according to Ma. Vienna O. Austria and Myline O. Aparente, ERDB authors.
The Ginoong Sanay bamboo group is composed of 70 bamboo stick makers and 10 dealers. They make up 95% of the Brgy. Ginoong Sanay population. Some of them produce their own bamboo poles and market their own goods.
The sticks they make are used for barbecue, banana cue, fishballs, and other finger/street foods.
Fish ponds and fish cages also use the bamboo poles that they sell.
The Brgy. Ginoong Sanay bamboo enterprise started with the production of “kaing,” the native-looking, nature-friendly equivalent of plastic crates used as container for hauling fruits and vegetables.
“Because kaing slowly became unpopular due to the influx of plastic containers and its production requires more bamboo poles and a higher capital, kaing producers shifted to bamboo stick making in the 1960s with barbeque,” said Austria and Aparente in Canopy International.
Income from bamboo stick making generated resources for food, school allowance, transportation, and tuition fees of the producers’ families.
“A meager income is not an issue for them as long as it sustains their daily necessities.”
Majority of them, 90%, have no alternative income source but rely solely on bamboo stick making for sustenance. Extra income comes from fishing, fish and food trading, construction work, laundry and “sari sari” store jobs.
A bamboo farmer sells the raw material for P62 per pole.
The bamboo traders among them earn a higher average of P6,640 per month on top additional P3,685 per month for stick making.
In a month, a bamboo stick maker may earn as much as P6,400 to a low of P1,000, bringing average to P2,776 monthly.
As they grew short of raw material bamboo within their barangay, they sourced bamboo poles from nearby barangays. This somehow benefited people in Malakaban, Tabon, Kinaboogan, Talim, Binitagan, and Sapang. Most of their supply now comes from other areas, leaving only 27% sourcing from Brgy. Ginoong Sanay.
The bamboo trade has been a family tradition with each member playing roles in harvesting, hauling, cutting, slicing or splitting of bamboo poles, sharpening into small javelins, drying of the stocks, cleaning or polishing, counting, bundling, and selling.
Right now, the dealers serve as financiers for the stick production. The products are sold to the market on a consignment basis—paid to farmers and producers upon sale completion. They are distributed to market stalls throughout Binan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba in Laguna, Bicutan (Taguig), Alabang (Muntinlupa), and Antipolo.
In relation to expanding bamboo supply in Rizal, the province that largely covers Talim Island, ERDB has partnered with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc (PSFI) on clonal nursery operation and bamboo propagation.
As a support to the National Greening Program, PSFI will help propagate quality planting materials (seedlings) of indigenous trees including bamboo propagules.
ERDB and PSFI have just opened PSFI’s clonal facility and forest nursery for bamboo in Brgy. Malaya, Pililla, Rizal last July 26, 2018.
“The regard for the environment is very high in Pilipinas Shell’s agenda. We see a very good alignment on what Shell wants to happen with what the government wants to happen,”said Cesar G. Romero, Shell Philippines country manager.
The clonal nursery will yield about 30,000 bamboo seedlings for 9 to twelve months.
“That’s a big jump from what we produce in our existing nurseries,” said PSFI Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz said.
PSFI’s bamboo propagation facility will grow select Philippine bamboo species.
“This is an initial move and what excites me also is the inclusion of bamboo propagation for two things – one, bamboo can absorb 3-4x carbon dioxide compared to other species. And also, bamboo provides plenty of livelihood opportunities,” said Cruz.
ERDB carried out a training last Sept. 12 to 14 on “Tree Clonal and Bamboo Propagation Technology and Nursery Operations” at the PSFI Training Center in Pililla, Rizal.
The training also delved on technical and managerial skills needed to run the clonal facility.
The PSFI-ERDB training included the following topics:
• Resource Material Selection by Forester Faith Anne Manarin
• Hedge Garden Establishment & Management
• Concept and Practical Application of Rooting Hormone
• Clonal Propagation Technology by Forester Alexander John Borja
• Bamboo Propagation and Nursery Management Practices by Mr. Nelson Levi M. Lantican
• Forest Tree Seed Center Operations Manual by Forester Rosalinda S. Reaviles
• Hi-Q Vam 1 Application Techniques by Ms. Famela J. Bonsol.
The training observed a “hands-on demonstration” mode and also led a target and action planning workshop.
Romero said environmental upliftment is a top priority for the company having engaged in conservation of the Tubbataha Reefs, coastal cleanups, mangrove tree planting, community waste management programs around its distribution terminals nationwide, and, tree planting of endemic species in Mt. Banahaw, Quezon as part of its Carbon Sink Management Program. (Growth Publishing for ERDB).