The municipalities of Janiuay and San Enrique in Iloilo continue to show great potential in promoting livelihood projects in their communities. The Tuburan Abacca Handicraft Association (TAHA) of Janiuay, Iloilo, and Agutayan Cubay Agrarian Reform Cooperative (ACARCO) of San Enrique are beneficiaries of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under its Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Through the program, the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) can increase the household income that would give them a good quality of life. However, there are limitations on the support to agricultural productivity to increase the farm’s income.

DAR tapped the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region VI to support the technical needs of these communities through the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program.

With the booming status of abaca in the municipality of Janiuay, the association is producing fiber crafts like mats, purses, bags, placemats, high-grade decorative paper as art media, and all-purpose decorative. Moreover, the association has a high demand for abaca products with natural dye. This results in the association’s business growth and an increase in market opportunities.

However, the association faces challenges in acquiring techniques in weaving, and their abaca fiber production operations are currently manually done.

Addressing the concerns of the association’s tourism livelihood, the department’s CEST program sets to assist TAHA through additional tools as well as training and seminars. Moreover, the association will be provided with dyeing vats and molders to improve the quality of their products.

Meanwhile, ACARCO is currently producing meat products namely chorizo, tocino, and siomai as there is enough supply of pork from their hog-raising activity and the encouraging market acceptability. Members and officials of the association are also aware of the food safety set by the Food and Drugs Association (FDA). The assistance mainly focused on the improvement of process and product quality and setting up a processing facility following food safety standards.

Recently, a training on Food Safety and cGMP was conducted to build a foundation of knowledge and skills needed for the operation of their new meat processing facility provided by the said project.

To give awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle, members of the association, especially the mothers in Janiuay, Iloilo, and San Enrique, Iloilo, will be conducted with an orientation on DOST’s Pinggang Pinoy and Seminar on Meal Planning.

Recently, members of the ACARCO benefited from the DOST’s FNRI “Pinggang Pinoy” and Seminar on Meal Management with 30 participants. (JJMoleño/SSalazar/DOST VI-KMU)