Monday, March 16, 2015

Foreign expert to dish out free 
Bohol "branding" consultation

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 14, (PIA)--A volunteer branding expert working with a a non-profit group working for the benefit of the children of Anda is offering a free exchange of ideas and tech talks with Bohol producers needing technical inputs on products branding and marketing. 

Estonian volunteer at ANDAKIDZ, Janno Siimar as well as Briton Robin Gurney had just created a new identity for a Boholano hand-processed product they both hope would make it to the tote bags of tourists as they exit Bohol. 

Opening their schedules for two-on-one products branding and packaging consultations are Siimar and Gurney, at the TAFIAS Tilapia chips product launch at the Bohol Cultural Center, Wednesday March 18 at 2:00 PM. 

Tilapia chips, a flaked tilapia meat mixed in flour, flavors and spices is a product of the Talisay Fishermen's Association (TAFIAS) intended to provide additional income to poor fishermen in the swampy village of Andy, one that was developed through the assistance of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of labor and Employment, according to Anna Mainit, TAFIAS chairman. 

But with little knowledge on the technical aspects of product development, branding and marketing, tilapia chips seldom breached local water, circulating only in the nearby towns, sometimes occasionally hitting Tagbilaran City stores. 

For ANDAKIDZ, who has foreign volunteers helping the TAFIAS in their community development initiatives as a sort of empowerment, tilapia chips provide a distinct flavor that not only captivates the taste buds, it also leaves a unique Boholano taste in the mouth, said Robin Gurney, who has worked with Siimar in the tilapia branding initiative. 

Now in a variety of flavors, the TAFIAS tilapia chips come in hot chili, garlic, ginger, chocolate and calamansi flavors, courtesy of the branding expert. 

Over this and as an outreach activity of ANDAKIDZ and the Estonian government, Gurney and TAFIAS invites advertising and communications students, development oriented individuals, Boholano products scouts and resort and restaurant stakeholders, especially community your tour operators and managers as well as interested individuals to get to the event. (rac/PIABohol)

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New tilapia chips launching Wed, 
branding ace to give free consult 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 12, (PIA)--From practically an unknown community of fishermen, aided by empowering help from the Estonian Government Development Fund and international volunteers, comes a fish product that may share the goody bag of every tourist leaving Bohol. 

Now for a provincial launch and tasting, Talisay Fishermen's Association (TAFIAS) is bringing out, in neat and world-class packaging its now-becoming-popular Bohol taste in vacuum-packed tilapia chips. 

To be opened in its sealed freshness Wednesday March 18, at the Bohol Cultural Center at 2:00 PM, is the TAFIAS tilapia chips, and like you guessed, is a product from freshwater backyard fisheries. 

It all started when we realized we were growing what people no longer eat, shared Anna Mainit, TAFIAS chairman who doubles up as a librarian during weekdays. 

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, who has been trying to help us find additional income than fishing out deep every day, found the under-utilized taro marshes. 

With a starting fund of P100,000 and government support in tilapia fingerlings and feeds, the community engaged in volunteer work after the Mainits agreed to have their taro fields converted into a pond, Ana, who married a Maiinit who also sits as barangay official narrated. 

The idea in converting taro fields into a fishpond, had us with tilapia, which we figured out, can be processed into tilapia chips, with a little work. 

The product was already in the market, but with a crude marketing strategy, tilapia chips failed to go big. 

The redemption came in the form of AndaKIDZ, a non-profit, non sectarian organization which focuses help on the hungry kids of Anda Bohol. 

ANDAKIDZ aims to recognize the rights of children and provide goods and services through the local community that will improve the lives of children in the poorest families and ultimately reduce child poverty in the area.

It hopes to achieve this by delivering interim support to families by providing home improvements, books, toys, clothes and engaging experiences, encouraging and supporting poor families to work themselves out of poverty, ANDAKIDZ website states.

Recently, the organization handled by Estonian Birgit Naur and husband British Robin Gurney successfully engaged the voluntary services of a branding expert who also believed in coordinating efforts to improve the situation of Anda's Children. 

ANDAKIDz and TAFIAS, with volunteers Janno Siimar and Robin Gurney worked recently to create a new identity for TAFIAS and develop and launch a range of high quality, hand-made food products, the tilapia chips foremost among them.

At the free event on Wednesday at the Bohol Cultural Centre, aside from the formal launch of TAFIAS WORLD FAMOUS TILAPIA CHIPS, people will have a chance to taste the delicious chips, where initial stock would be on sale at the event and business-matching can also happen for product re-sellers like stores, bars, resorts and other food outlets.

Also, branding expert Janno Siimar offers a free 1-2-1 “creative marketing” consultancy sessions to any food cooperatives and small businesses who are interested in learning more about branding, marketing and design.

The event door opens at 1.30 pm, short program and the product history of TAFIAS ZERO TO HERO Case Study: How WORLD FAMOUS TILAPIA CHIPS were developed by Janno Siimar and Robin Gurney (ANDAKIDZ Volunteers). 

Between 3:30 to 4:15, the creative marketing consultancy sessions with Siimar happens. 

Interested groups and food producers needing branding, design and marketing can come to the BCC and join the events according to ANDAKIDZ. (rac/PIABohol/TAFIAS)

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High palay buying price 
links to expensive rice

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 13, (PIA)--It boils down to economics. You buy high, you have to sell high too. 

This apparently governs the economics of rice trading industry here and commercial palay buyers may here have contributed to the high price of milled rice in Bohol.

The National Food Authority (NFA) bared this during the recent meeting of the Association of United Development Information Officers (AUDIO) meeting from local government units and the national government agencies at the casa Rey Francis Friday, March 13. 

This too as the NFA embarks on a procurement program to fatten its warehouse stocks as rice buyiong queues are getting longer with the mild panic created by the onset of a slight El Niño.

The NFA, through information officer Joel Lim, offered an explanation on why, despite sufficient rice harvests in Bohol, market prices are still high at P44.00 at least. 

"The NFA buys palay at P17 per kilogram, while commercial traders but at P22 per kilo" Lim points out. 

On the P17, the NFA also packs incentives to individual farmers and farmer cooperatives nationwide, like P0.20/kg delivery incentive for rice delivered to NFA buying stations, another P0.20/kg for a well dried rice incentive and P0.30/kg Cooperative Incentive Fee or a total of P17.70 per kilogram. 

On the other hand, commercial palay buyers shell out P22.00 per kilo from the farmers, without much hassles.

The farmers would have to sell their palay to commercial traders, considering the more than P4.00 price edge, Lim elaborated. 

But of the P22.00 buying price, traders recoup the buying costs in the palay processing to rice plus all incidental expenses, selling the milled rice at 44. 

It is generally twice the palay buying price, Lim told AUDIO members who gathered for the first time after 2015. 

Despite their procurement, NFA, which gets 20,000 bags of rice per allocation term for Bohol's 125 Bigasang Bayan outlets, sells a good quality Thailand rice at P27 per kilo. 

At this again, NFA assured that there is a sure supply of rice in Bohol, he said during the Information Sharing which forms part of every AUDIO meeting. (rac/PIABohol)

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Storms, beneficial 
to Bohol forests

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 10, (PIA)—Storms, destructive as they may be, proved beneficial to Bohol forests, revealed a forester who has devoted his life helping run a government endemic tree species nursery in Bilar, Bohol. 

The last quarter storms that ravished the Visayas in 2014, according to forester Restituto Piollo, dealt stress on forests trees forcing some nine non-annual flowering trees to bloom, signaling a good season for seeds in the next few weeks. 

Speaking to tourists and government officials product testing Bohol Surprise Tour package 3, Piollo, who currently heads the Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) at the over 5 hectare Bohol Biodiversity Complex (BDC) in Roxas Bilar, also said nature always, has its ways.

BDC is a joint facility operated as support of the 1997 Bohol Environment Code, which made sure that the province preserves it high biodiversity status by preserving and conserving its flora, fauna and other forest resources. 

Its hopes to attain this by adopting a goal to regrow the endemic tree species which are fast vanishing due to human threats and unregulated activities. 

Run by a consortium of the Provincial Government of Bohol through the BEMO, Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Municipality of Bilar and Local governments of Roxas, Soils and Water Conservation Foundation (SWCF) and Bohol island State University, BBC keeps probably the region’s largest inventory of endemic tree species in a nursery. 

These inventory includes the often-thought to be extinct Philippine dipterocarps.

Dipterocarps are the large tropical hardwood trees which characterize Asian forests, named as such because of its winged seeds. 

In Bohol, 16 species and 5 dipterocarp genera have been confirmed including one rarest in the country but common in Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape, according to SWCF, a consortium member.

Lots of endemic species of dipterocarp trees are slow growing and slow reproducing, but they bear flowers that attract bees and insects and fruits that are magnets for birds. 

Dipterocarps are hard to reproduce. The tree starts producing flowers at 17 to 18 years. Many species, if and when found when they are in flower, tend to flower and fruit at the same time, apparently in response to climate changes, SWCF said. 

One thing complicating the reproduction is that there is a seed-year interval, which may go from 2–10 years, with most species here averaging 7 to 8 years, before they seed again.

Add to that a characteristic that dipterocarps have: recalcitrant seeds. Most seeds are viable for only 2-7 days after collection and have a decreasing viability that last for most, 3 weeks .

The sudden stress to the forests brought about by the storms, suddenly interrupted the cycle this year that Piolio said among the already flowering tree species are mayapis, guijo, guisok, quisumbing guisok and manggachapui, he named a few

PATCH FARMING

It is widely accepted that the Japanese American war precipitated the decline of Bohol forests. According to tales, as most Boholanos were not actively involved in the fight, they retreated to the forests, thinking the war would not last. 

Unluckilly, it did that in need of food, refugees had to strip some parts of forests to plant rootcrops to sustain them. This started the kaingins, old Boholanos shared. 

“Cultural practices as kaingins and cutting trees for lumber has drastically reduced local tree species population, leaving only very few species standing in impenetrable forest locations at the Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape or standing solitary in farm-cleared lands,” DENR sources said.

The government effort to patch the increasingly barren lands introduced a reforestation system called monocultures: a single specie of fast growing exotic tree is set in an environment, and few decades later, forest watchers have seen the effects. 

Monocultures, or planting one single specie in a large area reduces biodiversity, most of their seeding habit is annual and in large numbers, which can easily over-run local endemics that seed occasionally and in small numbers, a poster at BBC states. 

Bacause of this, Bohol, which has been introduced to monoculture reforestations run the risks of the exotic species like ipil-ipil, mahogany and gmelina, the poster adds. 

But, within the next days, expect BBC, workers to be busy plotting and replotting germinated seeds for the already unknown native trees which have reacted to the stimulus brought by the storm.

Months from now, expect palosapis, mankono, yakal, apitong, tindalo, quisumbing guisok, tubog, mayapis, guijo, guisok, quisumbing guisok and manggachapui seedlings ready for the planting. (rac/PIABohol) 

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Nannoplanktons help people 
understand climate change

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 10 (PIA)--Studying nannoplanktons will give people an idea of how these minute creatures are affected by the changes in climate, and might provide the clues on adapting to the phenomenon, explained Dr. Alyssa Peleo Alampay, at the sidelines of an international scientists’ conference in Panglao Bohol, March 9-11.

Nannoplanktons are the smallest of the microplanktons or the aquatic organisms, invisible to the naked eye, but they form the base of the food chain, reveals Dr. Alampay.

Dr. Alampay sits among the key research fellows at the NannoLaboratory of the of the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS). 

Nannolanktons, especially those collected from the seas and oceans travel all over the earth seas and could provide the clues on the effects of climate change, the female associate professor at UP NIGS said. 

They also include coccolithophores, nannoliths, and other mineralizing nannoplankton such as silicoflagellates and calcispheres, which give out crucial clues to geologists tracking time and mineral traces in the world, Dr. Jeremey Young and INA President also said.

Most of the INA scientists are into geology, tracking fossils and getting clues as to the kind of minerals that can be found under the soil, Young continued. 

But, he also assented to the crucial clues which nannoplanktons can give in the unfolding of life. 

It's geological hazards understanding though, not giving direct solutions to problems in poverty or disaster recovery, he explained when asked how the Bohol conference can help the people recover from the earthquake. 

But, here, it is understanding how the earth works and how is this going to affect us, the British INA president added. 

In the Philippines, Dr Alampay said with minimal funding, instead of the more grand sounding scientific expeditions and research cruises, she travels with her student researchers on outrigger bancas to collect what Swedish scientist has called algae, roaming around the planet. 

Swedish Dr. Jorijntje Hendericks also shared Alampay's type of research where she and her team collected submarine algae and brought it to a controlled condition in a laboratory. 

By that, Dr Hendericks said they are able to expose the plankton to varying situations and note how they would fare.

In the Philippines, where it is sandwiched by two great expanses of seas, Dr. Alampay's team intends to see how nannoplanktons, which are mostly found way down deep in the seas, would be affected by warmer sea surfaces. 

If the water surface warms, it could stop the nannoplanktons from coming to the surface. If this happens, the ones at the higher level in the food chain could be denied of food and when they do not survive, fish and other sea feeders would starve. 

By learning about nannoplankton behavior with climate change, then it would help people understand how to possibly mitigate the effects or at most, reverse it, scientists said. 

In Bohol, nannoplankton research can even become more crucial in as much as the island is right smack in between the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea, which hosts the planet's undersea wonders. (rac/PIABohol)

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