In the pursuit of promoting gainful employment through employment facilitation and enhancement, the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. IV-B with the Romblon Field Office visited possible livelihood projects that can be transformed into Community Enterprises last July 21, 2011 in Tablas Island, Romblon.
One of these was the Coco Coir Production located in the Municipality of Calatrava. Coco Coir, a natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses etc., has a huge market in foreign markets especially in China. According to sources, recently, the Former Secretary of the Department of Agriculture signed an agreement with the People’s Republic of China for an annual supply of 100,000 metric tons of coco coir.
The Philippine Coconut Authority declared that Calatrava, Romblon has 371, 672 bearing coconut trees producing more than 1.2 million nuts per month. The production of coco coir is a project of the Arya Coconut Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative needing additional fund for the improvement of their coco coir production.
Other projects visited were the Bamboo Craft and the Arrow Root Production in Barangay Tuburan, Odiongan, Romblon. Primary products from the bamboo are hats, abanikos and mini organizers which can be viable products for export but require additional investment to enhance the design and quality. Meanwhile, Arrow Root, a perennial plant known for its starchy tuber, is used for making cookies and for some medicinal purposes. Similar to Coco Coir Industry, Arrow Root posted a high demand in the market and in order to meet it, appropriate technology is required as well as additional investments. Bamboo Craft and Arrow Root Production are projects of Tuburan Bamboo Craft Women’s Association and Tuburan Libertad Farmers Association respectively.
Apparently, these projects need additional investments from national government agencies to improve technology to enhance productivity. This will surely generate more jobs for Romblomanons. Some of the projects identified are priorities under Project GRACE of which DOLE is the focal agency.