Argao entrepreneur credits DTI for leading him to a sweet deal-A A +A
Saturday, February 16, 2013
FOR three years now, Edgar Lanutan, 56, has continued his parents’ legacy in tableya, unsweetened chocolate rounds extracted from cocoa beans.
Guilang Tableya, named after his mother, a maker of tableya since 1948, is a microenterprise in Argao’s food processing industry, recognized over the years as one of the best tableya in town.
According to Lanutan, about 95 percent of their cacao is supplied from Davao; the rest comes from Argao. With the scarcity of cacao trees in the municipality, Lanutan took the initiative of organizing a cacao tree-planting activity not only to maintain his tableya production but to provide an additional income opportunity for local farmers.
He credits a program implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 for strengthening his cacao chocolate rounds business.
Starting with 10,000 seedlings in his own cocoa plantation, Lanutan spearheaded the tree planting mission two years ago in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Argao.
Lanutan said the cacao seeds are distributed to households.
The program, which targets 25,000 trees for 2013 and a total of 250,000 in eight years, has drawn seven to eight barangays in the upland area, which have collectively planted about 38,000 trees to date.
Lanutan said the project helps families support the education of their children, as many of them are high school and college dropouts.
He said 100 trees translates to earnings of about P130,000 a year, enough to send one child to a private university and two children to a public institute.
Lanutan’s tableya, along with other food processing industries in Argao, took advantage of the interventions provided by the DTI 7.
Since the introduction of the Local Regional Economic Development (LRED) process to Argao in 2008, Lanutan and other local food manufacturers were able to expand their ventures.
LRED is a DTI planning tool for LGUs.
The program was created in 2010 with seven pilot towns in Cebu: Argao, Carcar, Naga, Barili, Consolacion, Bogo and Lilo-an.
According to DTI-Cebu business development division chief Elias Guia Tecson, the purpose of the program is to identify projects that would help the municipality and generate jobs.
LRED starts with rapid economic appraisal (REA), a survey conducted in the participating community by the LGU, academe, business and church stakeholders. The data is interpreted to come up with projects to be implemented in six months to a year, which would enable the environment, open access to market and finances, and develop productivity and efficiency among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Data from DTI reported that Guilang Tableya, after going through LRED, logged P3 million in sales in 2009, which increased to P8 million in 2011.
Lanutan pointed out that exposure in several trade fairs organized by DTI also augmented their earnings, as they were discovered by different interested companies like Coffee Dream and Oats and Berries. Outside Cebu, Guilang Tableya is distributed in Metro Alabang Town Center and Metro Market! Market! in Manila. Lanutan added they spend more than P50,000 monthly for orders delivered to Palawan. Lanutan is also in negotiations with major malls in the city for possible collaborations.
Last year, Guilang Tableya and Chitang’s Torta independently exhibited as Argao’s best at the Sinulog One Town One Product Trade Fair, landing among the top five food traders in sales.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2013.