Issue of March 10, 2019
     
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Session Road blooms with communities’ best products
by Jessa Mardy P. Samidan

Baguio City’s central business district became an array of one town, one products, which were showcased by merchandisers in this year’s Session Road in Bloom.

Among the perennial trade fair participant is 67-year-old Lorna Daud, proprietor of Yulaik Food Product from Naga City. She first joined the Session Road in Bloom trade fair in 2011 and continuously participated by selling food products that are endemic in her hometown.

Daud started processing mango sauce and dried lipote snack in 2009 which she brought to Baguio in 2011 when she first joined the Panagbenga. She said the P200,000 worth of products she brought was sold out in seven days.

From then on, she developed lipote (zysygium currantis) into wine after learning from personal readings that this endemic currant in Naga is a good source of calcium and phosphorous that acts as a natural phytochemical agent against cancer. She also processed mango wine, lipote and mango vinegar which she sells by joining trade fairs.

A humble housekeeper, Daud started her food processing enterprise as she tried to find ways in making money from excess ripen carabao mango fruit from her backyard. She said the buying price for freshly harvested mango is not enough to cover household expenses especially when these are already ripe.

“Whenever I go to trade fairs, I look at the local products and think how I can also make it using raw materials from our place. That’s how I was able to develop my products,” Daud explained.

With the help of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Go Negosyo program, Daud was able to improve her product packaging which were initially produced from farm input assistance of the Department of Agriculture. Her processing center was developed with the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology.

“Without the assistance from government agencies, small entrepreneurs like me will not be able to improve our products,” Daud, who now has a lemongrass wine and juice added to her line of products, explained.

This year, she brought around P500,000 worth of her products to the Session Road in Bloom which she believes will be sold out at the closing of the trade fair.

Other OTOP from Naga being sold at the Session Road in Bloom are crab paste, dried herbs and pili nuts.

Also showcasing their hometown product is La Paz, Abra bringing in their bamboo handicrafts which were sourced from the locals of barangays Udangan, Liguis and Benben.

Esperanza Barcena, 54 years old, operates the booth with P160,000 total worth of bamboo handicraft products ranging from baskets, table sets, mats, and bags among others. She said she first joined the trade fair in 2007 and was able to get a good return of investment but she got busy joining trade fairs in Manila that she was only able to come back to Baguio this year.

Other OTOP showcased at the Session Road in Bloom include Marikina footwear, leather jackets and bags from local entrepreneurs, and local delicacies and indigenous woven products from the Cordillera, delicacies, art and crafts from Nueva Ecija, handicrafts made from abaca; and, Marinduque’s arrowroot cookies, coco sugar, bagoong and patis, among others.


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