davao

Davao entrepreneur plans to export 18,000 coconuts daily to China

August 21, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Aug) – The Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur who owns the Davao City-based Eng Seng Food Products targets to increase the export volume of young coconuts to China to at least 18,000 daily starting this October following the successful initial shipments last July.  Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said in an interview that his company, currently exporting 18,000 nuts weekly, had already made three shipments to China since the last week of July.  He added that they are receiving inquiries from farmers from different parts of the region who are interested to participate in the export of young coconuts to China as suppliers.  He urged Mindanawon farmers to produce export quality coconuts to improve their livelihood to seize the huge market opportunity in China. “We want to help Mindanao and the farmers. I can see that they are poor. Some are not happy and abandon their farms,” Tan said. He said they target to explore other parts of Mindanao, including the cities of Kidapawan, General Santos, Surigao, and Zamboanga, to meet the target export volume. In July, Eng Seng Food Products, a food manufacturer that popularized the “tower” yema and other snacks, shipped 48 tons or equivalent to 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen, after the Philippines complied with the export protocol allowing the entry of coconuts from Mindanao and Leyte province to China. Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the local company and its counterpart China Artex Corporation Fujian Company during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last April for one-year exportation of 64.5 million metric tons of young coconuts. Tan said one case of nine coconuts can sell for $7 in China or P366.45 (at P52.35 per $1) or P40.71 per nut. Tan added that his firm is willing to accept all varieties from different regions of Mindanao for as long as they meet the standards of the Chinese who prefer sweet coconut. He said they are investing in machines to improve the packaging and upgrade their plant in Calinan to increase its production capacity. Around 250 workers are employed at the company’s processing facility in Calinan. “The taste was good but we have not perfected yet the packaging unlike in Thailand where they are already so used to it. We are still practicing on the proper way of removing the husk,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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Mindanao farmers urged to export rice to PNG

August 20, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 August) – Farmers in Mindanao should produce “premium” quality rice for export to Papua New Guinea amid decreasing prices of the commodity as a result of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Emmanuel Piñol said. Piñol on Monday met with top PNG officials, among them Ambassador Betty Palaso and Vice Minister Mannaseh Makiba, to discuss the possibility of exporting rice from Mindanao. “I invited our friends from Papua New Guinea because one of the first projects that we will undertake is to initially export premium Mindanao rice to Papua New Guinea. They are importing rice as of the moment,” he said. The new MinDA chair urged Mindanawon farmers to seize this opportunity. “Mindanao will be ready to export premium because the Papua New Guinea people have a lot of money. They have so much money and they say ‘we don’t care about the price, give us quality rice,” he said. Piñol said the falling rice prices due to the entry of cheaper imported rice from other Southeast Asian countries have affected farmers in Mindanao. He said the consumers would prefer cheaper imported rice to local rice. He added the only way to help the local farmers to survive the competition is to tap a niche market of the premium rice. “You know, right now, our farmers have problems because of the entry of cheap imported rice. Halos wala mamalit sa ilang humay (Almost nobody wants to buy local rice). The only way for us is to produce high-quality premium rice for export to other countries like Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Singapore,” he said. He said there are areas in Mindanao that are capable of producing export quality rice, including Banaybanay in Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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Paquibato farmer is finalist in 2019 International Cocoa Awards in Paris

August 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) -- Jose Saguban, a farmer from Kialaw, Malabog in Paquibato District, Davao City, will compete with 49 other farmers from all over the world for the prestigious 2019 International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon Du Chocolat in Paris, France on October 30 after his beans were selected as one of the top 50 cocoa beans out of the 223 samples from 55 countries.   Saguban’s entry was the only one to make the cut out of the five bean samples from the Philippines. The farmer supplies beans to Auro Chocolate, a maker of fine dark chocolates.   On its Facebook post on Saturday,  Auro Chocolate said it has been helping Saguban and other members of the Paquibato Tree Developers Cooperative with new farm techniques to achieve better quality, mentoring them on the fermentation protocols. The company helped prepare and sponsored Saguban to join the competition.   “We’d like to thank all of our farming partners for working tirelessly to improve quality and not just put the Philippines on the map for cacao beans but for showing the world, we can make gold,” the company said.   Valente Turtur, Executive Director of the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao (CIDAMI) on Sunday said this new development will “give premium price to the cacao beans not only in Davao but also in the Philippines,” and catapult the brand of Davao chocolate as a premium brand.   Turtur said five samples -- two from Compostela Valley, two from Calinan District and one from Paquibato District  – were sent to Paris at six kilos per entry last February.   He said Saguban was one of the project beneficiaries of CIDAMI in Paquibato District.   “He learned best practices in cacao farming from our series of trainings five years ago and continues to adopt the practice until now,” he said.   He said CIDAMI and Department of Agriculture will assist to bring Saguban to Paris to receive the recognition.   Cocoa of Excellence All the bean samples were subject to physical quality and sensory evaluation from February until June and flavor sensory evaluation of cocoa liquor by the Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) technical committee from July to August. The entries from the Philippines were all winners of the Philippine National Cacao Industry Council’s National Cacao Award System, established to select the best cacao beans that will represent the country in the international competition, Turtur said. According to CoEx, the ICA is a global competition recognizing the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavors, and is spearheaded by Bioversity International and Event International to recognize “quality, flavor and diversity of cocoas according to their origin." The best 50 samples, which will be processed into chocolate, will undergo another stage of flavor sensory evaluation by the CoEx technical committee and a broader panel of professionals. Out of 50 finalists, the CoEx will select 15 to 20 winners. The winners, including the finalists, will be showcased at the Salon Du Chocolat, which will gather 500 participants from 60 countries, including over 200 renowned chefs and pastry chefs. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s production level in the country had reached only 7,983 MT in 2018,  81% of which came from Davao Region. From 2008 to 2018, the data also showed that the production had only grown by 2,834 MT or 55.04%. Philippines' cacao production is insignificant compared to one million MT a year from Ivory Coast, 800,00 MT from Ghana, and 400,000 MT from Indonesia, Turtur said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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Tourism office reiterates warning to tourists to avoid unregistered tour operators

August 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) -- The Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTO) reiterated its warning to tourists visiting the city for the Kadayawan Festival to avoid transacting with unlicensed travel agencies offering tour services on social media. This after a team from CTO’s licensing unit and Business Bureau accosted on Saturday evening the operators of the Princess Adventours during an inspection at its pick-up point on Malvar Street this city. She said the company’s operation was illegal even if its representative claimed the business permit allowing them to sell tour packages is being processed. “It doesn’t mean that (if) you are processing papers to get the business permit, you can be allowed to operate. You should have a business permit first. She’s claiming she has a business permit for ticketing, which does not even allow her to sell tours,” she said. She said she has yet to discuss with the Business Bureau and City Legal Office on what actions to take against the tour agency. Tecson said most of the online tour operators are unregistered with the city and do not have offices, making it difficult for authorities to locate them when emergencies occur. “We request the general public to be careful and responsible by asking your suppliers/providers business permits and other pertinent details for your own safety and convenience,” Tecson Tourism arrivals for the first half of 2019 have reached 1.268 million, nearly halfway to the 3 million target of the local government for the entire year, Tecson said. Data from the tourism office showed that arrivals for the first semester saw an increase of 8.61% from 1.167% recorded in the same period a year ago. Tecson said the tourism office remains optimistic that it can hit the target because she anticipated that tourist arrivals will pick up in the second half, especially during the month-long Kadayawan Festival in August. The Kadayawan festival, the biggest celebration in the city highlights the cultures of the city’s 11 tribes, consisting of six Moro tribes (Tausug, Maguindanaon, Iranun, Kagan, Maranao, and Sama) and five Lumad tribes (Klata, Ata, Uvo Manuvo, Matigsalog, and Tagabawa). (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)  

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Piñol takes over as MinDA chair

August 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) – Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol formally takes over the chairmanship of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) at 9 a.m. on Monday in ceremonies that he said will be attended by Mindanao’s business and political leaders and leaders from the Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples (IPs). Piñol is the fourth MinDA chair after Jesus Dureza under the Arroyo administration, Luwalhati Antonino under the Aquino administration and Abulkhayr Alonto under the Duterte administration until his death on May 9.  Duterte designated Neil Dalumpines as OIC MinDA chair and appointed Piñol on August 5, the same day he named William Dar as Agriculture Secretary. Piñol, who hails from M’lang in North Cotabato,  took his oath as MinDA chair before Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on August 14. Piñol was a sportswriter of a national daily before he became mayor of M’lang 1995 to 1998, Governor of North Cotabato from 1998 to 2007 and Vice Governor from 2007 to 2010. He will serve as MinDA chair until August 2025 as Republic Act 9996, the law that created MinDA in February 2010, provides for a six-year term for the chair. Piñol wrote on his FB page that he had initially wanted a simple and quiet turnover from OIC Dalumpines “but I had a change of mind last Tuesday realizing that there is a need to make the people and leaders of Mindanao feel that MinDA is theirs.” He said among those invited were “the Sultans of Sulu, Maguindanao, Buayan and Lanao and leaders of the major tribes of Mindanao,” Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and Nur Misuari, chair of the Moro National Liberation Front. The turnover rites will be held at the MinDA office in the Old Airport Building in Davao City. RA 9996 created MinDA to “promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect the socioeconomic development of Mindanao” and to promote the “active participation of Mindanao and Palawan in the Brunei-Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines-East Asia Growth Area.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews) 

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Dabawenya is first Philippine-based artist featured by Etsy

August 17, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 August) – A Dabawenya has become the first Philippine-based artist featured by Etsy, “a global marketplace for unique and creative goods” and “home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures.” Etsy’s weekly Featured Shop Series, posted on August 5 in the company’s website, www.etsy.com, focused on the work of Ruby Thursday More, a Communication Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines in Mindanao. Etsy’s ‘Featured Shop Series’ features stories that “shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.” For Ruby, “a mere mention or photo of my work in one of the gift guides or roundups would have been amazing already. But no. The Universe decided that I get a feature instead!,” she wrote on her FB page as she shared Etsy’s feature on her and her work. “Embroidered Pendant Necklaces and Earrings From Thursday Craft Love,” written by Anna Hiatt describes Ruby’s elegant hand-embroidered products and her sources of inspiration for her designs. Thursday Craft Love is Ruby’s Etsy shop, “craft love” as her way of emphasizing her products are all crafted with love. Even the packaging of her products is a work of art as well.  The Etsy article also features a Q and A portion where Ruby gets to talk more about her craft. MindaNews asked Ruby, who used to contribute photographs to MindaNews,  if she is the first Filipino artist featured by Etsy. She said she would ask. Jackie Buddie, one of the editors at Etsy sent her this reply:  “I did a quick search of our archives and, while we have featured some Filipino expats before, it does appear that yours is the first Philippine-based shop we've featured.”   “Creative life” Ruby was a freelance photojournalist who opted to pursue a “creative life” full time with Etsy as her main platform for showing and selling her work.   She first encountered Etsy when she and photojournalist Keith Bacongco were preparing for their 2010 wedding. In 2012, she opened her shop on Etsy but sold beaded jewelry and felt boutonierres. She later focused on embroidered jewelry while waiting for the birth of daughter Jordi. (Jordi was born in June 2014). How did she get into embroidered jewelry? Ruby told Etsy that she used to work as a freelance photojournalist but when she got pregnant, the couple decided that “I’d stay at home for a while and take care of our daughter.” A year after Jordi’s birth, Ruby said she felt like “I wanted to do something creative again” and made an inventory of her skills and what she liked to do “and I decided I’d really enjoy working with fabric and drawing and colors. I had a few threads, so I tried embroidering, and it’s cliché, but it was love at first sight.” In her FB post, she recalled having read the Etsy blog and its Seller Handbook, “especially their feature stories on different artists, designers, makers, vintage sellers” and it became a useful reference “especially when I was just starting out and a lot of the things I know about living and surviving life as a creative, I learned it from there.” “I swooned over the work and studios of these artists, all the while wondering if the day will ever come that me or my work will get to the Etsy blog pages as well,” she said. Human connection Etsy was set up because in a time of increasing automation, “it’s our mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce.” “That’s why we built a place where creativity lives and thrives because it’s powered by people. We help our community of sellers turn their ideas into successful businesses. Our platform connects them with millions of buyers looking for an alternative – something special with a human touch, for those moments in life that deserve imagination,” its website said.   Ruby recalled there were times she doubted the decision to pursue her creative life.  “I used to wonder if we'll ever survive” but her ever supportive husband would assure her “padayon lang gud” (just go on). “On days when I had almost given up, Keith never wavered, as he always has on so many things in our lives and for that alone, I am truly grateful,” said Ruby. She noted that some people may think of the artist’s life as “dreamy, glamorous and ideal” but “it’s far from that in reality” as it requires “a lot of hard work, discipline, grit and sacrifice.” She said she feels “so guilty every time I had to sacrifice precious time” with her daughter Jordi “because I have an order to complete. This is not the ideal work-at-home mom thing I imagined. But then, real life's really like that, I guess.” She thanked God for blessing them with “the love, kindness and support of family, friends, neighbors, clients and strangers.” Affirmed Ruby acknowledges that while there are still “so many things to do, dreams to work on, for now,” Etsy’s choice of featuring her work is “a sign that somehow, we are on the right path, and that we will be alright.” “Thanking the Heavens for affirming our decision. Salamat kaayo, Lord. It is all YOU, really,” as she also thanked everyone “from the bottom of my (hand embroidered) heart!” Proof that Ruby has been swamped with orders is that she had to post this announcement on her Etsy shop page, Thursday Craft Love, early morning of August 13: “Due to the high volume of orders at the moment, waiting time is at 9 – 10 weeks (estimate only) plus 2 – 4 weeks shipping time from the Philippines. I apologize for the long wait. Each piece is personally hand stitched, assembled and packaged by me, thus each piece takes time. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding. Love & sunshine from the Philippines, Ruby.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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