"To enhance and institutionalize the e-Extension system in agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources for optimal application, utilization and exchange among users and partners."

Department Order No. 03 series of 2007 designates the Agricultural Training Institute as lead agency for the provision of e-Extension services in collaboration with the various agencies, bureaus and organizational units of the DA. This is to integrate and harmonize ICT-based extension delivery system for agriculture and fisheries.

Farmers' Contact Center
Kaagapay ninyo sa usaping pang-agrikultura
call 1 800 10 982 2474
text 39132
email: info@e-extension.gov.ph

Agri and Fisheries News

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How Pinay created beauty, spa products from rice bran

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 08:22
by Mae Guico.  

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.comPosted at 07/14/2014 3:34 PM | Updated as of 07/14/2014 3:51 PM
Oryspa's kiosk at SM Megamall. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA - Rice bran, a by-product of rice milling more popularly known as "darak," is an ingredient not often associated with beauty and personal care products.

But a Laguna native has found a way to infuse rice bran oil's vitamins, nutrients and antioxdiants into shampoos, soaps, lotions, body scrubs and pain relief products under the Oryspa brand.

"Rice bran, which is the flagship of Oryspa, is rich in Vitamin E and A. Vitamin A is for skin renewal... Rice bran also has oryzanol, a nutrient that is an anti-oxidant, it's anti-aging," Oryspa founder Sherill Quintana told ABS-CBNnews.com in an interview.

Thanks to word-of-mouth, Oryspa's products, which contain rice bran oil, such as the meditation balm, chili oil, relaxing foot mist and body scrubs are selling well at malls.

"Oryspa was coined because of 'oryza sativa', the scientific name of rice, and it's for the spa. Kasi we were supplying to spa before... My idea is like 'food for the soul,' 'rice for the spa' kaya Oryspa," she explained.


Oryspa was launched in 2010, but it is backed by a decade of experience and research.

Quintana never thought she would become an entrepreneur. A sociology graduate from UP, she worked in community development and projects with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Wife Fund for Nature (WWF).

Her passion was aromatherapy. "I studied essential oils and their uses. Mga candles, alam ko anong purpose to evoke certain emotions... May pagka-witch ako, gusto ko nagcoconcoct ng solutions," she joked.

Sherill Quintana talks to ABS-CBNnews.com about how she started Oryspa. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

In 2000, she became pregnant with her first child. "Nagkaroon ako ng problem with the pregnancy so I had to stay home and not work... So nabigyan ko ng focus ang aromatherapy passion ko... Export orders started. That was the start of it, we became wholesale, export, toll manufacturing business," she said.

She started Kutitap Aromatherapy Crafts, which manufactured and supplied spa essentials for various clients abroad.

After she gave birth, Quintana decided to continue the business. There were several challenges along the way, like when their foreign customers started shifting orders to China where costs were cheaper, and the global financial crisis.

"Talagang parang we had to close shop na, kasi walang export orders. Wala kaming local business... So I made some efforts to set up a local store sa mall. So lahat ng extra export orders, doon i-shoot. Pero parang chop suey, walang concept," she related.

Kutitap also started supplying local spas with products using imported essential oils. In 2007, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) invited the company to join the California gift show but Quintana decided not to participate since their products used mostly imported ingredients.

"Eh ang product na i-showcase namin eh galing din sa kanila. Imported, ginagawa dito tapos binalik din. Parang mali. It didn't make sense," she said.

Quintana and her husband, who is an agriculturist, decided to do some research on what local ingredients they can use in their products.

"At that time, I was sitting as president of the tourism council in Laguna sa Los Banos. We were promoting rice research, then I thought baka may something sa rice... I asked my husband if we can get something from rice. He said yes, let's look into it... That's when Oryspa came out in 2008. Pero nailabas, 2010 pa, kasi [it takes] more than two years of getting patents," she said.

Oryspa initially came up with a handful of rice bran oil-infused products - meditation balm, solid perfume, massage oil, chili oil and soap, which were all-natural and paraben-free.

Her first customers were cancer survivors. "They were looking for alternative shampoos, conditioners, soaps na walang chemicals. Dinadayo pa nila kami sa Laguna. Word of mouth lang," she said.


Some of Oryspa's bestsellers - chili oil, meditation balm and curry balm. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

One of Oryspa's customers worked for SM and urged Quintana to apply for a kiosk at SM Calamba, which was opening in November 2010. SM's leasing department gave Oryspa "national approval," which meant it can open in any SM store in the country.

Quintana initially had some reservations opening a retail store for Oryspa, thinking of the risks involved. "Pero sabi sa SM leasing, 'kunin niyo na kasi bihira kami magbigay ng national approval sa mga bagong brands. And kalaban mo, mga foreign brands.... Sabi pa daw nila sa management na this brand has a potential to grow," she said.

Oryspa's first stall in SM Calamba proved to be a success. "After six months, we hit ROI (return on investment). Nabawi na agad namin ang investments namin," she said.

Customers loved the products, and some were already inquiring about franchising the brand. Quintana decided to work with Francorp to develop the franchise.

From one brand in 2010, Oryspa now has 15 stores, including 2 in Cebu and 1 in Singapore.

"We opened in Singapore last year... Ang first namin clients is Pinoy pero now, marami na SIngaporeans. We tied up mga bloggers doon, locals to raise awareness," she said.


Since many customers think Oryspa is a "spa", the company has decided to start offering "spa parties" at its building in Calamba, Laguna. Oryspa Experience will provide pampering services using their products, although it is only by appointment.

"We will have a 'spa party place' for groups of friends. Calamba kasi is resort capital... Usually naglulublob lang sa pool at kainan. I said, why don't we offer something else na we can get people, 6-8 people, offer pampering for them. We are targeting opening by August," she said.

Right now, Quintana is busy attending trade fairs abroad to get exposure for Oryspa products. Her goal is to have her products sold in other Asian countries, including Japan.

But she believes that it is important to keep the brand proudly Pinoy. When you take a closer look at Oryspa's products, you'll notice the label states: "Proudly Made in Laguna, Philippines."

"When I do trade shows abroad, they ask me where on earth is Laguna," Quintana laughed. "Oryspa is not just a wellness product. We also want to make our rituals, our cultural dimensions as Filipinos known."

With ASEAN integration looming, she believes Oryspa will stand a good chance of competing with other Asian brands.

"Napansin ko if your product, gusto mo makilala as Filipino brand, you have bigger chances of surviving with Asean integration," she said.

Source: How Pinay created beauty, spa products from rice bran

Filipinos bring abaca fashion to Athens

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 09:24
by Joeven Calasagsag.  

rappler.com; July 7, 2014
ATHENS, Greece – “Banaca goes Athena” was a fashion exhibition by internationally known Filipina designer Dita Sandico Ong, the original banaca wrap artiste, held last June 12, on the 116th Philippine Independence Day.
The show featured the uniqueness and versatility of the banaca fiber interwoven into the apparel of both men and women.
“This is part of our ‘Meet my Country’ series which we initiated in 2012 in line with our economic and cultural diplomacy efforts.” Ambassador Meynardo Lb. Montealegre said. “We aim to enhance awareness of the ingenuity and artistry of the Filipino,” he added.
CHIC. Banaca wrap is made of the fibers found in banana and abaca Back in June 2012, the Embassy displayed Philippine furnishings and home décor that blended antique and modern designs during its diplomatic reception. This was followed by a showcase of Filipino music, art, cuisine, furniture and fashion in May last year, when the Embassy hosted the Women’s International Club of Athens with “Meet my Country: The Philippines” at the Ambassador’s residence.
Lady ambassadors, ambassadors’ spouses, and business people attended the event. It was the first time the banaca wraps of Ms. Ong was introduced with the WIC ladies gamely trying on the apparel.
FIRST TIME. This is the first fashion show at the PH Embassy in AthensBanaca wrap is made of the fibers found in banana and abaca which are indigenous to the Philippines. The warm, wet and volcanic soil of the country is suitable to the propagation of abaca. Abaca is a natural fiber, strong enough to be used as cordage for the shipping industry and yet delicate enough to be manufactured into teabags. Its versatility is also manifested in the wide variety of products it could be used for, such as handbags, linen, hats and coasters.
According to the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) of the Department of Agriculture, the Philippines provides 85% of the world’s requirement for abaca.
The Fashion Exhibition is another first for the Philippine Embassy in Athens. The Ambassador wanted the guests not only to bond with each other and partake of the delicious Greek and Filipino dishes but also to learn more about the Philippines. The guests loved the Filipino food such as chicken adobo, beef longganisa and native delicacies such as pichi pichi and buchi.
It was the perfect venue for the guests to be acquainted with and appreciate the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage, and its creative and unique designs in fashion wear and accessories. The show elicited “oohs” and “ahhs” from both the male and female audience as the models paraded the various designs and ways of wearing the banaca wrap.
Philippine Honorary Consul in Cyprus Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides wore one of the new collections of Ms. Ong in the finale.
After the show, Dita Sandico Ong attracted the interest of the ladies in the audience, including the lady ambassadors and ambassador’s spouses, with a demonstration on how to twist, curl and fold all the various banaca wrap styles such as Mariposa, Mori and Corina.
A reception exclusively for the Filipino community was held a week earlier at the Stratos Vasilikos Hotel. by: by Miles Viernes
Source: Filipinos bring abaca fashion to Athens

SM Foundation brings farmers’ training to calamity-stricken areas

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 14:28
by Marjorie M. Arriola.  

(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Conceptualized to help bring food and increase income from vegetable farming, SM Foundation launched its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program in Typhoon Yolanda-devastated Tanauan, Leyte and Borbon, Cebu; earthquake-damaged Loon, Bohol; and in Zamboanga City, affected by the conflict between the military and Muslim rebels.

The season-long farmers’ training programs in these areas have been completed.

In Tanauan, Leyte early this month a harvest festival and graduation ceremony was held at Barangay Pago, with 108 participants from the municipalities of Tanauan, Barugo and Babatngon getting their certificates of completion of lectures and hands-on activities where they were taught organic farming.

Camaraderie and friendship were forged in the duration of the training. Thus, aside from being a venue for learning new farming technology, the training also helped build new relationships.

Despite the challenges they encountered, the participants initiated the establishment of their own organization – the Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Tanauan, Barugo at Babatngon.

The DSWD, through director Georgina Hernandez, pledged to help the participants with a social preparation module that would train them to become entrepreneurs and also give them training on value formation and financial literacy.

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Through Mungkahi Proyecto, non-interest, non-collateral loans payable within two years in staggered amounts, depending on their cropping cycle, would be made available to participating farmers.

The association would collect and deposit to the DSWD Landbank account payment of the loans.

Source: SM Foundation brings farmers’ training to calamity-stricken areas