Six people’s organization (PO) beneficiaries, one of which is indigenous, of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Project (INREMP) in Wahig-Inabanga Watershed showcased the products of their learning from the Farmer Business School (FBS) to business development and service providers (BDS) and local markets of Bohol during the Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop in Tagbilaran City on June 29, 2018. Those who went through the rigor of FBS training and guidance were members of Concepcion Livelihood and Environmental Association Project (CLEAP), Ilaya Sustainable Farmers Association (ISFA), San Carlos Association for Rehabilitation of Environmental Denudation (SCARED), San Miguel Association Resource Team (SMART), and Lundag Eskaya Tribe Multipurpose Cooperative (LETMULCO).
The workshop was part of Module Five of FBS for livelihood development that is adapted by INREMP under its Component 2: Smallholder Investment. The International Potato Center (CIP) facilitates the operation of FBS while the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provides technical and financial support.
A range of agroforestry-based products was on display: camote chips, camote beverages, cassava cakes, camote jam, camote ketchup, gabi chips, and camote candies, to name a few. They were delicately produced and more so packaged based on the skills and knowledge taught at FBS. The occasion enabled these products to be introduced to the market initially to see any possible product enhancement in preparation for the FBS Launching in time for the Sandugo Festival in July 2018.
The panelists who evaluated the products came from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), First Consolidated Bank-Tagbilaran Branch, Cooperative Bank of Bohol, The Trade Fair Shop-Bohol, Alturas Group of Company, Bohol Quality Corporation, and Jojie’s Bakeshop.
Among the recommendations of the panel were the following: 1) registration of organizations to SEC to avail of opportunities that require PhilGEPS accreditation; 2) coordination with FDA for the License to Operate (LTO) for the safety and security of health and well-being of the community; 3) additional trainings of ATI; and 4) loan and financing assistance for small and micro-enterprise livelihoods of the partner banks.
Moreover, they suggested that the PO beneficiaries improve their bottling and packaging of products to increase shelf life, improve consistency of products’ texture, and explore ways to stabilize supply of raw materials to sustain production that meets market demands. (INREMP/ Irish Viola Sta. Ana & Ma. Theresa Corazon Ladrera)