This study was conducted mainly on the utilization of cornhusks to produce novelty items as gateway towards sustainable cottage livelihood opportunity in Batad, Iloilo, Philippines. Specifically, it sought to answer the following objectives: (1) Identify innovated items to be produced from the cornhusks and other corn wastes; (2) Determine the most effective treatment to obtain excellent result in terms of color concentration in dyeing of cornhusks; (3) Design a framework in developing the social enterprise for cornhusk novelty products; and (4) Provide policy insights and recommendations for the improvement of cottage industries in the municipality. Data revealed that cornhusks treated with 45.0 grams of NaCl, 120ml vinegar, 10 grams of fabric dye and 1,000ml water gave an excellent result in terms of color concentration to produce novelty items like flowers, Christmas tree and floral wreath. As verified by the survey conducted by the researchers among thirty (30) handicraft experts, results further revealed that the said Treatment, contained the best proportions and therefore the most acceptable among the treatments used in dyeing cornhusks. Mass production of these eco-friendly novelty items is recommended for sustainability using effective social enterprise framework. Funding source from the Local Government Unit (LGU) and other funding agencies would be of great help to further improve the quality and quantity of the product that can be produced from these corn wastes into lucrative valuable novelty items. Cornhusk novelty products could provide sustainable livelihoods and prosperity in the countryside as gateway towards Municipal economic corridor in the province of Iloilo in support to Republic Act 10644 or the “Go Negosyo Act” of 2013, Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, an and Republic Act 1788 otherwise known as the Cottage Industries Development Act of 1981 of the Philippine laws. The creation of Pasalubong Center in the municipality is envisioned to help promote the local products and tourism industry of the province. The assistance given to the MSMEs by the government and private sectors like the launching of Kapatid Agri-Mentor Me Program (KAMMP ONLINE) of the ATI-RTC 6 and the Department of Agriculture that apparently provide small businesses the leverage to grow and poster must be enhanced and strengthened. Business counselling, skills and entrepreneurial training, providing latest technological services and credit facilities, marketing, product designs and development shall be provided to the agripreneurs for livelihood and economic sustainability. Strong linkages between LGU and RDE of the College and other partner agencies shall be given highest engagement for livelihood prosperity
Keywords: cornhusks, novelty items, utilization, cottage livelihood, economic profitability
In the midst of the country’s fiscal crisis and people’s economic and social woes, brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, one is inclined and tempted to look for alternative income – adding strategies to meet and sustain family budget’ needs. The farming sector deserves all the support and intervention from the government and non-government entities to improve the farmer’s plight. One important strategy that will help the farming community is to promote maximum utilization of by-products which in this case, will involve corn growers. Modernizing agricultural products and by-products entails a system approach improvement from production, postharvest handling and processing up to product marketing. The past program of the Philippine government had been lopsided putting much emphasis on the production aspects. It is only recently that postharvest handling and processing was equally singled out as a major development trust in line with the country’s bid for global competitiveness (Lim, 2020; Albao, et al.,2019).
The town of Batad is a 5th class Municipality in the Northern part of Iloilo province. According to 2015 Philippine Census it had a population of 21,298 people (Municipal Development Office, 2016). It is subdivided into 24 barangays. The vast sights occupying 600 hectares of corn plantations cover almost half of the town’s land area. The fertile farming land attracted the people to start farming in the vicinity of the cornfield’s community. The abundant production of corn dubbed Batad as the “Corn Capital of Iloilo” (www.da.region6.gov.ph, 2012). With its abundant cornfields, it is assured that aside from growing corn for feeds, the waste products from corn are left to rot or be burned. The agricultural wastes produced after every corn harvest season formed part of the 50.46% of the biodegradable wastes generated by the Municipality. This is based on the result of the Wastes Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) conducted in 2020 by the Office of Research, Development and Extension Services of the College and the Provincial Government and Environmental Resources Office of the Province of Iloilo, Philippines. The problem on Solid Waste Management (SWM) remains a daunting problem and an environmental issue to be addressed by the municipality. Hence, the local executives took an initiative in managing these perennial problems on ecological solid waste disposal by strengthening the implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. The implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Act shall be the primary accountability of the Local Government Units (LGUs) within their respective jurisdictions as stipulated in the RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 (Montero, et al., 2019; Castillo et al.,2013; Caparino, 2020).
The cornhusks covering of an ear of corn is the strongest part that protects the entire corncobs. Cornhusks are usually considered as farm wastes. In any part of the country, it is either left to decompose in the farm or burn into ashes. The problem with burning cornhusks is that it poses health and environmental hazards. For one thing, the smoke from burning of this husk is irritating to the eyes. Secondly, the smell of burning corn husks induces difficulty in breathing. When dumped along the roads, heaps of cornhusks become eye sores. These heaps of cornhusks would be there for a long time as they decompose very slowly (Gerona, 2012; Ahmad et al., 2015; dicover.hubbpages.com). To solve the problem on waste utilization after corn harvest, the Batad Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center thought of crafting cornhusk products into novelty items out of something that almost has zero value. Corn waste utilization after corn harvest can be converted into novelty items. It is an important strategy to help the farming community maximize the consumption of wastes into handicraft products made from corn wastes. Handcrafted arts from these agricultural wastes provide a doable alternative solution on solid wastes management problem of the municipality and additional source of living for the local folks (Lacson, 2006, Flora, 2018; RA 9003; and RA 1788).
Utilizing the bulk of corn wastes into valuable novelty items is an alternative resource for sustainable livelihood in the community while they are staying at home. This is an opportune time to help corn growers and unemployed individuals belonging to the marginalized sectors in the community to gain extra income to augment their family needs in times of pandemic. Through the assistance provided by the LGU and other nongovernmental organizations, this community project could help mitigate the impact of the downgraded economy to improve livelihood and prosperity as part of the government’s program on value added agriculture for post COVID-19 livelihood recovery initiatives in the countryside. Utilization of cornhusks for novelty items is as an eye opener to local executives, business traders, cooperatives, MSMEs and corn growers to support this noble and eco-friendly cause as gateway towards sustainable cottage livelihood opportunity in Batad, Iloilo, Philippines (Montero, 2000; Tavares, et al., 2018).
Socio-demographic and environmental conditions
The Municipality of Batad is located in the Northern tip of Iloilo Province, about 125 kilometers from the City of Iloilo. It is bounded on the North by the municipalities of Balasan and Estancia, on the West by the municipality of Pilar Capiz, on the south by the municipality of San Dionisio and by the Visayan Sea on the East. Batad is composed 18 inland barangays and 6 are coastal areas. Farming and fishing are the primary source of income in this municipality. Its territorial coast produced abundantly with prawns, crabs and all kinds of fish that are plentiful during peak fishing months if the ecological resources are protected and conserved. Fish processing such as dried fish and other marine products are abundantly supplied by the coastal communities. Agricultural products such as rice, corn, fruits, vegetables, poultry and livestock are abundantly produced in this place. These products are sold within and outside of the municipality, in its neighboring towns and other provinces in Region 6-Western Visayas, Philippines. These business opportunities are the lifeblood of their economy(PSA, 2015).
At present, Batad, Iloilo is now struggling for economic recovery brought about by the present global pandemic. Many business establishments and transportation sectors were severely affected including the marginalized sectors of farmers and fisherfolks. The only hope that remains in this place is the fertile farming land that fascinated the people of Batad to start farming in the vicinity of the cornfields in the agricultural community. Aside from rice as its major crop, corn is planted throughout its 600 -hectare land area. Corn is considered as the municipality’s OTOP or the One Town, One Product. OTOP-Philippines is a multi-sectoral program of the Philippine government, which started in 2004. It aimed at assisting local businesses, and involving the national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), and the private sector.
The Agricultural Training Institute, Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC 6), the umbrella program of the Department of Agriculture and its partner linkages: The Batad Farmers Information Technology Services (FITS) Center and the Research, Development and Extension Office of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic Sate College (NIPSC, Batad Campus) have worked in tandem to provide livelihood training and assistance to these marginalized people in this municipality especially on the utilization of corn wastes in the production of novelty items.
On livelihood opportunity
The Research, Development and Extension (RDE) Services of the College in active partnerships with the FITS Center visualized that cornhusks novelty items would provide greater livelihood opportunity among handicraft trainees. Researches have shown that cornhusk (balat ng mais) contains several layers of papery tissue that enclosed the flower organs, and later the grain kernels. It has an interesting surface structure and natural color. Cornhusks can easily be patterned into desired shapes in its damp state. When dried, their shapes and color are stable. Cornhusk crops had already benefited nearly 2,000 corn-farming families in the country by giving them chance to augment the income through undergoing multi-level cornhusks handicrafts trainings. According to a marketing officer of Hybrid Pioneer Philippines, those who avail of the skills training have subsequently made cornhusks craft a home hobby especially that the country is under the state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some even ventured to make it an income- generating project by starting collecting the husks, enthusiastically putting new skills into practice and at the same time enhancing it. Meanwhile, numerous orders started coming in from buyers (via social media platform marketing strategies) who found the cornhusks products affordable yet beautifully-crafted novelty items. Considering that the cornhusks craft is still confined to the awareness of those regarded as enthusiasts, crafters explored other venues to stir other people’s interest. And expand awareness to the novel craft, starting by tapping resources that would enhance the trade (Marconcini, et al.,2010; Lacson, 2006; Amid, et al., 2014).
In 2019, the Municipality of Batad and other neighboring municipalities in the fifth district of Iloilo, conducted series of livelihood trainings and community extension services on cornhusks novelty products through the FITS Center (Figure 1). These livelihood trainings were actively participated in by non-working mothers, out-of-school youths (OSY), persons with disabilities (PWDs), and even professionals supported by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). To increase the awareness of the target markets about these novelty items, the products were posted and advertised in various internet online publications and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels. The Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College and the Department of Education (DepEd) in Batad, Iloilo had incorporated this handicraft skill among their students taking up Bachelors in Technology and Livelihood Education, Agriculture Programs and Technical Vocational academic strand in Senior High School Program respectively.
On local economy
With a working capital of Php 100.00 (2.00 USD) raw materials, a crafter can already be able to produce Php 1,000.00 (20.00 USD) worth of crafts. These include bags, coasters, angels and flowers which may not require any capital cash outlay. Apprentice crafters can earn something equivalent to the daily minimum wage: expert crafters can earn a fortune. It takes at least 2 hours to learn a particular craft.
After a day’s work from the field, a farmer may work at home doing cornhusks braid and twine that are sold to a crafter at Php15.00 (0.3USD) per meter. Good quality cornhusks from harvest can be sold to a crafter at Php15.00 per kilo. Crafters, however, prefer BT corn variety which may be priced as high as Php 30.00 (0.62 USD) per kilo particularly because of the absence of holes caused by Asiatic corn borer, a corn pest prevalent in the country. Long cornstalks are also bought Php 1.00 a piece is used as decor accessories. Even corn silk can be sold at Php 50.00 (1 USD) (Lacson, 2006).
Cornhusks are used in making many types of crafts, such as dolls and puppets. They are also used in different types of stuffed toys and bows. The unique texture and rustic look of cornhusks makes them ideal for making beautiful bows that can be used to decorate a number of items. These pretty cornhusk bows look great as decorations on wreaths, flower arrangements, vases and are particularly suited for country or rustic decors. Cornhusks are also useful in making great wreaths and centerpieces (Iftitah, 2017; Velasco, 2021; midwestliving.com).
Sustainability of raw materials needed for the production of novelty products
Based on the data obtained from the Municipal Agricultural Office of Batad, Iloilo conferred that, for a total of 24 barangays directly engaged in corn production for the past five years the average corn production was tremendously high and had reached 16,900 metric tons in 2019 (Figure 2). Results therefore agreed that the raw materials needed for the production of these novelty items were highly sustainable.
The utilization of cornhusks as agricultural wastes to produce novelty items gained positive approval and support from the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Batad. The local executives from the barangay level supported this endeavor by enacting and/or enhancing barangay ordinances in support to the government policies on Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP). This move motivated the farmers especially corn growers not to burn corn wastes but transform these into a lucrative business. The abundance of raw materials and the support gained from the local government unit has prompted people’s organizations (POs), local businesses and cooperatives to get involved in this endeavor as they were inspired by the results.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES AND OTHER LEGAL BASIS OF COTTAGE INDUSTRY IN THE PHILIPPINES
As Eco-friendly Agribusiness. Cornhusks novelty project is an eco-friendly agribusiness that is in accordance with the policies embodied in Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and RA 7160, also known as the Local Government Code of 1991. It utilizes environmentally sound methods that maximize the utilization of valuable resources and encourage resource conservation and recovery; and is a target for solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization measures. The law emphasizes also the process of composting, recycling, reuse, recovery, green charcoal process and others, before collection, treatment and disposal of appropriate and environmentally sound solid waste management facilities, in accordance with ecologically sustainable development principles. The Act further ensures the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid wastes through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management excluding incineration. It encourages greater private sector participation in solid waste management (www.lawphil.net; Premakumara et al., 2014).
In the full implementation of these acts, different stakeholders including the academe are mandated to take responsibility in the SWM. Mandates were given to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to include ecological solid waste management in the school system at all levels, to actively engage school administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff, and students in school-wide and nearby community waste management actions, and to strengthen waste management content in the curricula. In addition, state universities and colleges are also mandated to assist in the LGU’s extension system by improving their effectiveness and efficiency through capability building and complimentary RDE activities (Part 6, Rule 21, Section 2, RA 9003; Torres, 2017).
As a means to improve economic conditions in the countryside. To venture in this kind of agribusiness, cornhusks novelty products is a perfect example of circular economy. It offers avenue for our corn growers not to rely on corn grains alone as source of income but to give them a wider opportunity to enter in the value-added chain which could provide greater chance to develop their artistic skills in handicraft-making for sustainable, resilient livelihood and economic prosperity. According to Republic Act 1788 otherwise known as Cottage Industries Development Decree of 1981, it states that, Cottage Industry development and promotion is the appropriate vehicle along the thrust of developing the countryside because of its high labor intensity, low investment (cost-efficient) requirements and adaptability to Philippine condition owing to our abundant raw materials and special craftsmanship. It is of strategic importance to further develop and utilize the cottage industry sector to maintain the stability of our economy and to accelerate the pace of industrialization. The state, realizing the vital importance and special significance of the cottage industry towards improving the quality of life and spreading its benefits to the people, mandates the National cottage industry development authority the corporate mission to develop and promote cottage industries to their full potential. Cornhusks novelty project promotes job generation among rural folks and those living in the countryside by enhancing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to venture and invest in this new lucrative business in accordance with the Republic Act 10644 or the “Go Negosyo Act” of 2013 of the Philippine laws. The significance and gravity of contribution of the small and medium sized businesses make them a very indispensable part of the economic sector of developing countries, including the Philippines (Albao, et al., 2019; Aldaba, 2017; Velasco, 2021; RA 1788; Shafi, et al., 2020).
As a means to address SDGs on poverty alleviation. Cornhusks novelty project is not only eco-friendly and material inputs are cost-efficient but it ultimately addresses the program of the present government on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for poverty alleviation and reduction platform. This is in consonance to President Duterte’s 10-point Socio-economic Agenda pursuant to his Executive Order No. 5, s. 2016, including: (1) a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor; (2) a healthy and resilient society; (3) a smart and innovative society; and (4) a high trust society. The Local Government Unit of the Municipality of Batad, in active partnership with the Department of Agriculture, and other non-governmental organizations came up with some projects benefiting 24 barangays directly engaged in corn production including the small businesses and community livelihood associations to further help them survive and continue improving the economic output, employment, as well as preservation of culture through the manufacture of local products (Nilsson et al., 2016; Capuno,2020; Cudia et al., 2019).
Today, cornhusks novelty project becomes an instant livelihood to many people without big amount of money involved as starting capital. With proper training, imagination and ingenuity, one can earn a living out from these corn wastes. For instance, the launching of Kapatid Agri-Mentor Me Program (KAMMP ONLINE) is an agribusiness mentorship and coaching program at times of pandemic developed by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE-Go Negosyo) in partnership of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-RTC 6) is one of the successful programs, credit assistance and facilities provided by the government which aimed to: (1) Help Farmer Organizations and Cooperatives in their endeavor to lift up their farming businesses and become agripreneurs; (2) Equip agricultural entrepreneurs with a better understanding of how agribusiness works and how they can effectively maximize their resources; (3) Educate and provide technological and financial assistance to our farmer-entrepreneur organizations, strengthen their business operations, and build-up their capability; (4) Provide extensive knowledge in agricultural entrepreneurship that would guide farmers to become agripreneurs; and (5) Impart the proper production techniques, mindset and values, practical knowledge and strategies, and consultation services to foster successful and sustainable agri-enterprises needed during the actual operation of the farm/ business (ATI-RTC6; Rivera, et al., 2011; Baticados, 2018).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to utilize cornhusks and other corn wastes to produce novelty products as gateway for sustainable cottage livelihood industry in the Municipality of Batad, Iloilo, Philippines.
Specifically, it sought to answer the following objectives: (1) Identify innovated items to be produced from the cornhusks and other corn wastes; (2) Determine the most effective treatment to obtain excellent result in terms of color concentration in dyeing of cornhusks; (3) Design a framework in developing the social enterprise for corn husk novelty products; and (4) Provide policy insights and recommendations for the improvement of cottage industries in the municipality.
The materials used in this study were cornhusks, fabric dye (red, orange pink, green and violet) vat, ladle, pail, long nose, combination pliers, scissors, laundry wire, fine wire, floral tape, thick book, spoon, glue gun, glue stick, glue, 1,000 ml beaker, Sodium Chloride (table salt), white vinegar, electronic weighing scale, water and ruler.
Cultural management practices: (1) Gathering of cornhusks. The cornhusks materials were gathered within the cornfields of Batad, Iloilo immediately right after harvest. The first 3-4 outer layers were eliminated from the shucked corn and then placed inside the sacks. The gathered cornhusks were classified according to sizes: large, medium and small and were stored in a dry cool place for future use. (Caution: Never gather wet corn husk); (2) Dyeing of cornhusks. To obtain the excellent result in terms of color concentration in dyeing techniques of cornhusks, the following treatments were employed: Treatment A: 10 grams fabric dye, 45.0 grams NaCl, 120 ml vinegar, and 1,000 ml water; Treatment B: 10 grams fabric dye, 40.0 grams NaCl, 100 ml vinegar and 1,000 ml water; Treatment C:10 grams fabric dye, 35.0 grams NaCl, 80 ml vinegar and 1,000 ml water and Treatment D: 10 grams fabric dye, 30.0 grams NaCl, 60ml vinegar and 1,000ml water. The treatments were applied for every 1 kg of dried cornhusks. The water containing the mixtures were boiled within 20 minutes, stirred well with a ladle in a 5 minutes interval until all the cornhusks were totally dyed. Rinse well the dyed cornhusks in a tap water, hang the dyed cornhusks by air drying for forty-eight (48 hours); and (3) Flattening of cornhusks. Smoothen the surface of the dried cornhusks using a spoon on a flat surface. Arrange separately the flattened cornhusks into small, medium and large sizes to determine the number of novelty items to be produced in every dozens of dyed and flattened cornhusks. The size of the cornhusks to be used will depends on the handicraft products to be made.
Establish strong linkage and partnership building. The joint management team from RDE and the FITS Center conducted a dialog with the local executive of the Municipality of Batad, with the head of Solid Waste Management Team of PGENRO, the head of the Agricultural Municipal Office (MAO), Members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and the Barangay Council of Poblaciónes covered by the RDE activities. The capability building on solid waste management was spearheaded by the Wastes Management Division of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Province of Iloilo. The cornhusks handicraft livelihood training was organized by the experts from the FITS Center.
DATA GATHERING PROCEDURE
Data on the color concentration of fabric dye was done using four different treatments replicated three times in a Completely Randomized Design. The results were gathered and recorded using mean and percentages. A purposive sampling technique was administered to 30 handicraft experts who were requested to evaluate the products using the Likert Rating Scale(Montero, 2020).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Based on the response of thirty (30) qualified handicraft experts who rated the color stability of the treatment applied in dyeing of cornhusks, data in Table 1 revealed that as to the color concentration using the different treatments applied for every 1 kilogram of dried cornhusks, Treatment A gave the highest mean 4.45 and described as excellent, followed by treatment B with a mean of 4.3 and described as very good, Treatment C got mean of 4.04 described as good and Treatment D got mean of 3.71 described as fair. This proved that using 45 grams of salts, 120 ml vinegar, 1,000 ml water and 10 grams fabric dye, will definitely enhanced the desired color in achieving the best results.
The study was supported by the midwestliving.com that table salt is used as binding agent or called mordant, however the vinegar makes the color darker or brilliant. Furthermore, it contributes good pliability, strength, durability, longevity and high retention of cornhusks (hubpages.com; Marconcini, et al., 2010).
NOVELTY PRODUCTS OBTAINED FROM CORNHUSKS AND OTHER CORN WASTES
The results of the study proved that, Christmas tree, floral wreaths and flowers were among the innovative products produced from cornhusks (Figure 3). This was supported by the study of Lacson (2006) stating that novelty items like glass coaster, angels and flowers can be made from cornhusks. Baskets, ropes, brooches, hairclips, garlands, leis, candle votives, pumpkins, trees, and papers were among the creative handicraft products that could be made out of cornhusks (Ahmad, et al.,2015; Iftitah, 2017; Tavares, et al.,2018). The study of Montero (2020) and the discovery of Lacson (2019); and Velasco (2021) also supported this recent study stating further that cornhusks are used in making many types of crafts, such as dolls and puppets. They are also used in different types of stuffed toys and bows. The unique texture and rustic look of cornhusks make them ideal for making beautiful bows that can be used to decorate a number of items. These pretty cornhusk bows look great as decorations on wreaths, flower arrangements, vases and are particularly suited for country or rustic decors. Cornhusks are also useful in making great wreaths and centerpieces. Cornhusks are used for stuffing mattresses and cushions. It has also been proven that cornhusks are quite useful in making decorative and attractive flowers. Table 2 is a list of the novelty items that can be made from cornhusks and other corn wastes.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the findings of the study the following conclusions and recommendations were drawn: (1) The innovative products that were utilized out of cornhusks were flowers, floral wreaths, trays, bags, leis, baskets, placemats, coasters and wall decors (i.e. Christmas decors, Christmas trees, angels). These novelty items can be made primarily from cornhusks and other corn wastes such as corn cobs, stems, flowers, and corn silk. These raw materials were highly sustainable; (2)Using 45 grams NaCl (salts), 120 ml vinegar, and 10 grams fabric dye in every 1,000 ml of water will definitely enhance the desired color in dyeing the cornhusks; (3) Effective framework in developing the social enterprise for cornhusks novelty products are very promising for it provides sustainable livelihood opportunity for the people indulge in this endeavor in the Municipality of Batad, Iloilo, Philippines (Figure 4); and (4) The LGU, in support to the cottage industry in the municipality legislated and/or strengthened resolutions, ordinances and executive orders such as the implementation of Municipal Ordinance No. 36-2006 also known as the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Ordinance in consonance to Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The imposition of RA 1788 also knowns as the Cottage Development Decree of 1981 had created jobs and a means to alternative source of income to rural folks through extensive livelihood trainings and RDE activities conducted by the College in partnerships with the FITS Center. The government strong support to MSMEs in adherence to the provisions embodied in RA 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act of 2013 had significantly boasted the enterprise of cornhusks novelty projects in the Municipality. To legitimize the operation of the Cornhusks Novelty products and services, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) issued a Certificate of Trademark Registration Number: 508581 which can be helpful for product recognition and the business operations of MSMEs in the province. To increase the popularity and market niche of these novelty items the products are posted and advertise in various internet online publications and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel. The creation of Pasalubong Center in the municipality is envisioned to help promote the local products and tourism industry of the province. The handmade crafts cornhusks products are now available in local markets, business centers and malls in the Philippines.
The assistance given to the MSMEs by the government and private sectors like the launching of Kapatid Agri-Mentor Me Program (KAMMP ONLINE) of the ATI-RTC 6 and the Department of Agriculture that apparently provide small businesses the leverage to grow and poster must be enhanced and strengthened. Business counselling, skills and entrepreneurial training, providing latest technological services and credit facilities, marketing, product designs and development shall be provided to the agripreneurs for livelihood and economic sustainability. Strong linkages between LGU and RDE of the College and other partner agencies shall be given highest engagement for livelihood prosperity.
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