Last January 30 – February 1, 2014, the DOST-Provincial Science and Technology Center in Marinduque facilitated a “Technology Training on Utilization of Arrowroot Fiber (‘sapal’/waste) into Handmade Paper and Paper Conversion”. The said training was conducted in Brgy. Bangbangalon, Boac, Marinduque at the residence of the key person or trainor, Mr. Apolonio Olavidez.

This endeavor was an initiative of Mrs. Carmelita R. Reyes, owner of Rejano’s Bakery and pioneer of arrowroot cookies in the province. Mrs. Reyes sought the assistance of Mr. Bernardo T. Caringal (PSTC-Marinduque) to help uplift the lives of local people through the provision of livelihood activities utilizing abundant resources. And since bulk of the wastes generated from processing arrowroot tubers into flour for cookies, technology on handmade paper and paper conversion was identified for product innovation purposely as packaging (bag) for arrowroot cookies and other products.

A total of 32 participants comprosed of women from Brgy. Lupac, Boac, Marinduque attended the three-day training and were very grateful and happy with the skills they have acquired. The group is committed to continue the production of handmade paper and initially targeting potential buyers from other provinces with the forthcoming MIMAROPA RAA, National Cooperative Congress, and the Moriones Festival.

This innovative project will not only support the needs of the group (participants) but will also address the problem of arrowroot farmers and processors regarding waste utilization. It is indeed true that, as Mrs. Reyes claims, aside from coconut, arrowroot can also be considered as a “plant of life”.