Monday, November 16, 2015

By Jaana Tamayo 

The newly inducted officers of the Organic Herbs Producers and Livelihood Association of Aklan and Farmer Field School participants are shown in the photo taken after receiving their certificates of completion in the School on the Air and Farmers Field School on Herb Production, Processing, Utilization and Marketing.

  Aimed to provide skills and knowledge on herbal production, processing, utilization and marketing via radio broadcast, the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center 6 (ATI RTC 6) in collaboration with the local government units of Kalibo, Numancia, Lezo, Malinao, Banga, Makato, Altavas and Balete, Aklan graduated 605 participants from the first of its kind School on the Air (SOA) and Farmers Field School (FFS) specialized on herbs. One component of the program is a weekly FFS held at the ATI Training Hall to
actualize the technology discussed on the air thru hands on training and demonstration.
The SOA participants gained knowledge on the medical benefits and uses of herbs, its application, and production practices and technologies. They also learned  entrepreneurship, marketing and packaging.
SOA is one of the training interventions to implement Republic Act 8423 or the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997 which aims to improve the quality and delivery of health care services through the development of alternative health care and its integration into the national health care delivery system.  
The training course provides livelihood opportunities to its graduates.  They can engage in profitable and marketable ventures in herbal production, processing and utilization such as making decoctions, infusions, poultices, ointments, balms, and creams to treat minor ailments.
According to Ms. Florepe Mortallia of ATI RTC 6 Information Officer II and SOA Aklan Focal Person, the participants have been mass producing herbs and processing ointments for skin disease, balms, lip balms, facial cream and massage oils.
 “Synthetic medicine is very expensive, but we can find cheaper alternative medicine from our surroundings. We are blessed with so many herbs and it is only a matter of identifying them. Participants are taught how to process herbs into different kinds of medical products for their personal use and they can make it as a business as well.”Mortalla. Pointed out 
Banga Municipal Mayor, Erlinda Maming, who graced the graduation program considers SOA/FFS on Herbs as“an avenue worthy of commendation” in the organization’s aim to capacitatevarious stakeholders from the community who have taken interest in entrepreneurship.
“Our modern outlook and practices in life carry health hazards and risks. It can be mitigated with the use of these  see page 4
herbal products and medicines. May you all excel in this endeavor,.”Maming told the graduates. Likewise, Aklan State University Dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Sciences Dr. Melissa Tolentino, Madyaas Publisher/Editor-in-Chief and also former ATI director Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, and SB Member Agosto Tolentino extended their congratulations to the graduates. They thanked ATI for tirelessly providing the trainings.
ATI Central Office Information Services Division Chief Antonietta Arceo who flew in from Manila explained that Region 6 has a huge potential in the promotion of herbal processing and marketing. She encouraged the newly inducted officers of the Organic Herbs Producers and Livelihood Association of Aklan (OHPLAA) to take the lead in linking and finding opportunities to market their products.
“This covers all the value chain from production, processing, utilization to marketing. The newly inducted officers have a big responsibility to push the association into marketing. There are 600 producers who can display their products at Agrilink.  We can refer them to potential buyers.” Arceo assured.
“I am very happy with your strategy because when you are organized well, you are able to compete with other players. Only when you are together, you cope up with the market demand. All of these contributes to our mission statement in reaching out, building dreams and changing lives.” Arceo added.
She commended Center Director Dr. Eden DLR. Bautista for the innovation on herbs and for responding to the “call of the times” to go into herbal and organic. Doc Eden also urged the participants to take the practices by heart and shared to them the 4Ms which are moment, method, money, and month./MP 

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