The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encouraged farmers to conserve raw materials such as nito, buri, and bariw due to the growing demand of and shift to biodegradable packaging materials from the usual plastic.

DTI-Antique Senior Development Specialist Arlene Galopo said the exhibition of bags and other items made of nito (lygodium), buri and bariw (pandan) at the Artisans Village during the Manila Fame last October 17-19 caught the attention of numerous exporters, where majority of them were shop owners who personally attended the event to look for various displays.

The nito, a slender fern that twines; buri, a fan-shaped leaf which is the most common palm in the country; and bariw, a sturdy raw material – are all grown wild in the forests.

“The nine local producers from Antique who participated in the event were able to generate a total sale of about PHP7.5 million,” she added.

The groups who made the growing demand of raw materials possible were Buri Handicraft Association Inc., Kinuris Crafts, Produkto Puro Antiqueño, Ariannas Coco Product, San Agustin Iraynon Bukidnon Tribal Association and Association of Differently-Abled Persons Antique Chapter, who participated in the event.

Also, some associations of bamboo makers from Tobias Fornier, Sibalom, and Ramon Magsaysay towns participated by giving weaving demonstrations.

As of now, Galopo said there are already exporters negotiating with local producers to produce the items.

These exporters are highly interested in the bags, baskets, housewares and other items made of the local raw materials. (RJ Espartinez)