Women’s Organization Makes Handmade Paper from Durian Husk
It’s durian season once again and soon, the streets of Davao City will be lined up with piles of this fruit.
According to Department of Agriculture’s High Value Commercial Crops Regional Coordinator Melani A. Provido, the Philippines is producing around 54,700 metric tons of durian annually, with majority of production areas located in Mindanao.
The flesh and seeds make up around 60 percent of the fruit, while the husk or skin which is generally considered waste material represents 40 percent or 21,880 metric tons. Hence, every year, we are producing around 22,000 metric tons of durian husk, which usually end up in the garbage dumps or worse, are just left along the sides of the streets to rot.
But a women’s organization called KATAKUS in Panabo City, realizing that durian husk is mostly made up of fibers, utilizes the husks as one of the raw materials in making handmade paper.
KATAKUS or the Kababayen-an Alang sa Teknolohiya nga Haum sa Kina-iyahan ug Kauswagan is an offshoot of the Women and Appropriate Technology Program of the Women Development & Technology Institute (WDTI) National Office in Davao. It was formally organized in May 1996 to continue the development work that WDTI has started in Davao. Today, KATAKUS has a total membership of more than 30 women and youth.
One of the objectives is to increase income of farm households through collective and individual on-farm and off farm enterprises and one of which is the handmade paper production project.
Through a training conducted by DEV link and the Department of Science and Technology in 1994, they learned the technology on the production of hand made paper, which involves the use of cogon, banana fiber, abaca fiber waste, and durian fiber. Here is the procedure to process durian husk paper:
1. Chop the durian husks into small pieces for ease in cooking.
2. Cook the chopped husks in a drum.
3. Bleach the fibers.
4. Rinse the fibers after bleaching.
5. Beat the fibers for easy sheet forming.
6. Mold or form the sheet using a mold and deckle.
7. Extract the excess water manually using a sponge or any absorbent material.
8. Dry the handmade paper.
Based on what they experienced, KATAKUS said that products made from durian paper such as lamps, paper bags, scrapbooks, and photo albums are more popular among customers due to its attractive natural colors and texture.
NOT ONLY A BUSINESS
Throughout its more than a decade of existence, the project has not only provided the members with income. More importantly, it has boosted their self confidence as productive citizens.
KATAKUS member Jhona Mae Taldo says that by working in the handmade paper project, she is able to support herself and to pay her tuition.
Another member and scrapbook and album maker Lucita Taldo avers that the income she earned from working in the project provides her family’s daily needs and supports the education of her children.
Aside from income, the project also helps members cope with problems. Marciana Llorente recalls that before she became a handmade paper maker, she was sickly and used to sleep all day to cope with her depression caused by the recent death of her eldest son.
“Since I started working in the project, I slowly got over’[with] my depression. I feel better when I mingle with the group and even much better every time I get my pay slip because I now have enough money to support my family,” she said.
For more information, interested individuals may contact KATAKUS through its office in Davao City located at Room 32/F Via’s Court, 53 Legaspi Street, with telephone number (6382) 221-8157 and email address email@example.com.