Thursday, September 14, 2006

Carcar United Footwear Manufacturer Association Inc., Cebu Shoemakers’ Cooperative

Shoemaking is part of the heritage of the people of Carcar, Cebu. It has been passed down from generation to generation and has become a major industry adopted by around 435 skilled workers of this small town.

In the past, the Department of Trade an Industry - Cebu Provincial Office (DTI-CPO) assisted Carcar shoemakers in terms of financing and marketing. However, it was not enough to generate concrete and measurable results.

During the months of July and August 1998, DTI administered a BENCHMARK SURVEY of Carcar shoemakers to serve as baseline data for organizational needs assessment and as part of DTI’s resource mapping. Data revealed that most shoemakers were held captive by usurers who were charging exorbitant interest, there was no sharing of technology among shoemakers and shoemakers lacked support form LGU.

After assessing the common needs of shoemakers, DTI-Cebu conducted a training on CREDIT MANAGEMENT AND DELINQUENCY CONTROL in Can-asujan, Carcar with shoemakers from Liburon.Carcar town’s flourishing shoe-manufacturing industry was once the beneficiary of President Arroyo’s “Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyong Piso” program.

This after former governor Pablo Garcia pledged his P1 million from the President’s program to help develop the industry, Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu Provincial Office (DTI-CPO) Provincial Director Nelia Navarro said.

This year, Carcar's shoemaking industry benefits from the One Town, One Product (OTOP-Philippines) project of the DTI. A priority program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs, OTOP-Philippines encourages the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to produce and market distinct products or services using indigenous raw materials and manpower.

The DTI has been assisting the Carcar local government and other LGUs in identifying the specific product or service and coordinates all forms of assistance from various agencies including the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Science and Technology (DOST), Tourism (DOT) and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Under the program, the inter-agencies provide MSMEs a comprehensive package of assistance including business counseling; skills and entrepreneurial training; product design and development; marketing; and introduction of appropriate technologies.

At present, DTI-CPO is providing technical assistance to the Carcar United Footwear Manufacturer Association Inc. (CUFMAI). DTI-CPO Program Management Division Chief Eli Tecson said CUFMAI’s bulk-buying project has allowed the local industry to compete price-wise with other shoemakers in the country and abroad.

Despite the industry’s quality products, Carcar shoes had a difficult time competing price-wise with other shoe manufacturers because of the high cost of raw materials, which are bought in small quantities, Tecson said. “With bulk buying, the cost of raw materials has gone down, resulting in cheaper products,” Tecson said.

CUFMAI already made two bulk orders last year, which were bought by both members and non-members of the organization. Tecson said the DTI-CPO had facilitated CUFMAI’s linkage with Bulacan-based leather tannery Eastern Tanning Corp. for the raw material bulk buying.

With these positive developments, Carcar shoemakers can now look forward to a much brighter future.

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