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PACAP exhibitor adjudged best booth in Calagan Festival trade fair

The display booth of the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP) assisted-local producer "Karaga Pasalubong" bested other exhibitors throughout the region in the Best Booth contest in the weeklong Calagan Festival Trade Fair recently held at the provincial gym this city.

Organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT)- Caraga Region, the said event forms part of the celebration of the 15th Anniversary of Caraga Region, which highlighted the showcase of "WOW Caraga: Calagan Festival," from February 22-27, 2010.

Surigao Economic Development Foundation (SEDF) Project Coordinator Joseph Nacario, said that the display booth of Karaga Pasalubong caught the attention of the crowd because of its creative arrangement of various displays, solely done by the exhibitor themselves with the technical assistance from SEDF, an implementing partner NGO of PACAP.

Karaga Pasalubong displayed various native crafts like Tikug mat, agsam-nito baskets/native wares, abaca wares/crafts and a number of food products like dried pijanga (native fish in Lake Mainit), dried squid, nipa vinegar, Gigaquit rhum, VCO-based liniment.

Nacario said that the PACAP booth generated total gross sales of Php17,000 from the 6-day activity, aside from being awarded as "Best Seller" for the Producer-Seller Category, with Php 10,000 cash prize.

Other participating booths include the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, cities of Butuan, Bayugan, Bislig, Tandag, Cabadbaran, Surigao and some line agencies like DENR, DTI, DA, DAR, CHED, NEDA, DBM, DepEd, TESDA and DOT.

Nacario attributed the success to PACAP for their microfinance support, "PACAP was able to help put-up this scheme through their Business Development Services (BDS) program, of course with the collaboration from SEDF."

"With this kind of activity we were able to help our local farmers, fisher folks and those run by women's groups, agrarian reform communities and cooperatives in showcasing their products thus opening up market opportunities," Nacario said.

PACAP Provincial Project Officer Monina Hernandez also said that, "many of the ongoing livelihood projects in all three FOCAS Clusters are generating income, thus contributing to the poverty alleviation goal of the province."

"The provision of start-up capital for fishing, livestock, mariculture, crop production, non-farm types of livelihood, and even processing of raw materials such as vinegar and coconut oil, have not only productively increased the capacity of local communities to manage financial/material resources. PACAP's engagement with the local communities has created an environment for people to leverage and innovate," Hernandez added.

For so many years now, PACAP has always been supportive to small-medium enterprise to promote development of this sector as key to achieving jobs creation and competitive enterprise. It is a program of the Aus¬tralian Agency for International Development (AusAlD), a 24-year old funding program which has granted PhP 74,767,315 total grant funds to at least 21 community devel¬opment projects in the province since 2005, through the Focal Community Assistance Scheme (FOCAS). The three major geographical clusters where PACAP projects are located are the ff: Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HIPADA), Siargao Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS), and Lake Mainit Development Alliance (LMDA).

Today, PACAP has assisted 71 people's organizations (farmers/fisherfolks and women) and partnered with 11 NGOs and 1 government special body, the LMDA. PACAP project reach includes, 17 towns in Surigao del Norte, 4 towns in Agusan del Norte in Lake Mainit side, 64 Barangays (SDN & ADN), and 1 city, the city of Surigao. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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