Carmen perks up economy, boosts sinamay production
- Rhia de Pablo () - February 7, 2008 - 12:00am

Known for its world-class sinamay products, Carmen is now actively taking on an aggressive commercial promotion of its homegrown handicraft with the help of the government’s One Town One Product program.

The local government of Carmen is focusing on this particular product to bolster the economic development of the town as well as to attract domestic and foreign investors.

This February, Vice-mayor Sonia Q. Pua will be coming out with a “Bisita, Bisita sa Barangay” program, that will focus on the livelihood development of the people in Carmen and bolster the production of their sinamay products.

“We will go to each barangays and directly see what livelihood programs we can offer our weavers to make their living a lot better,” she said.

The sinamay industry in Carmen employs a huge percentage of the town’s population. According to the presentation of Department of Trade and Industry regional director Asteria Caberte, there are currently about 3, 000 weavers in Carmen and 70% of which are home-based composed mostly of housewives.

These weavers have inherited their skills from their ancestors and they can make about 15 to 30 meters per week and earn P20 to P60 per meter of finish products.

Over 10 barangays in Carmen are involved in the sinamay industry composed of about 10 to 15 SMEs and 35 to 50 MSEs involved in trading and manufacturing.

Carmen’s sinamay products reflect the country’s culture being one of the most kept and oldest traditional arts which makes the town the sinamay capital of Cebu province.

The industry of sinamay in Carmen is noted as the major sources of the town’s income and it also supports the fiber industry in town, said Caberte. With a backward link to exporters, the industry has a big potential even in the international marketplace.

Carmen’s Sinamay came from abaca hemp and it can be weaved into intricately designed bags, gifts, house wares, and among others. And since sinamay industry is fabric-based as it utilizes abaca hemp to be weaved into finished products, the LGU is looking at providing weavers with a steady supply of raw materials since currently there is not enough of these in town. Carmen imports most of their abaca in neighboring towns such as Negros and Balamban. 

“There is not enough supply of raw materials so with our BBB program, we will also see if some of our barangays will be susceptible to plant abaca to sustain our sinamay industry’s needs,” said Vice-mayor Pua.

Pua said that it was only about three years ago that they were able to see the potential of their sinamay industry and currently they are addressing the problem of entrepreneurial growth for the weavers and industry players with the expertise and technological support from the DTI like in the assistance of raising the income of weavers and also with the help of some exporters.

“Our sinamay products are all ready for export and we have been receiving several bulk orders. In months to come, as we intensify our abaca supply we will definitely be doubling our productions,” said Pua.

The country’s OTOP program is our version of a Japanese livelihood program called as the “one-village, one product.” OTOP is now one of the flagship programs of the Arroyo administration and recently the national government gave-out P2 million for loan out to sinamay weavers to assist them financially.

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