Tagbilaran City Bohol Raffia weavers in Bohol expect the demand of Philippine made products to gain strong market awareness globally after coming up with new design patterns to offer exporters.
The new patterns became available after the materials research and development program of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), through its Business Accelerator and Materials Innovation project that aims to innovate the weaving centers of Bohol, was implemented particularly in the municipalities of Inabanga and Tubigon.
Ingrid Haufe, ECCP materials research and development project manager; said in a statement that the organization is presently assisting raffia weavers in developing new design patterns and mixed media applications based on the latest trends.
At present, she said indigenous materials are gaining popularity among foreign buyers due mainly to the increasing preference of many consumers for environment-friendly products.
"Bohol is one of the provinces in the region that supplies good quality of raffia, and together with innovative and artistic designs of weavers. Filipino products will make a big hit in the international market. It is a win-win situation for everyone -- more demand means increase in profit for exporters and more work opportunities for weavers," Haufe said.
She described that in mixed media applications, weavers use recycled materials such as newspapers and old plastic twine with raffia. They also use other indigenous materials like buri and abaca to incorporate in the new designs.
Haufe bared that after tapping Inabanga and Tubigon, the program will also be offered to weaving centers in the other municipalities of Bohol since ECCP is optimistic that the volume of products will significantly increase this year.
The woven materials are then made into bags, fashion accessories, furniture and home decorations by select export companies.
ECCP said these companies can have exclusive use of their chosen materials for at least a year. Other design patterns will also be displayed at the Materials Library at the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation building in Jagobiao, Mandaue City, Cebu.
Source: Manila Bulletin; Visayas Bulletin; 23 September 2011