Atty. Gilbert R. Arbon (right), Provincial S&T Director of DOST Negros Oriental and Architect Ray Villanueva, Manager and Co-founder of Kawayan Collective Bamboo Treatment Facility lead the ribbon cutting on the inauguration of the Bamboo Learning Center. (Photo courtesy of Kawayan Collective)

Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, February 21 – The Department of Science and Technology here in the Negros Oriental granted P2.3million to Kawayan Collective, a bamboo processing facility located in Dauin, Negros Oriental.

The funds will be used to build an eco-dryer designed by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of DOST (DOST-FPRDI). The project also covers procurement of blade sharpening machine, drum sander and laminating hot press machine.

“The project aims to enable the efficient and sustainable local production of innovative engineered bamboo products primarily for the domestic market while developing the capacity and skill-level of local suppliers—they would be able to process, treat and distribute beautiful, durable, Filipino bamboo as a sustainable construction material”, said Atty. Gilbert R. Arbon, Provincial S&T Director of DOST Negros Oriental.

Through the project, the Kawayan Collective could increase its production of engineered bamboo panels and products from 132 panels to 300 panels monthly.

The project is expected to have a positive impact on Kawayan Collective’s production.

“DOST is making it possible for Kawayan Collective to kiln-dry our engineered bamboo for a mold-resistant finish so useful in a humid country and necessary for anyone trying to export product. We will also be able to double the size of our existing panels without adding more labor cost.  We can pass those savings onto customers, making it easier for more to choose engineered bamboo finishes for their homes,” said Architect Ray Villanueva, manager and co-founder of Kawayan Collective.

A Bamboo Academy Learning Center will also form part of the project with the aim of assisting transfer (through training) of appropriate bamboo technologies to the communities. The center will be a place to build on strong relationships to bamboo partners and suppliers by providing more extensive training and hands-on practice for value-added products such as flattened bamboo, slats, dowels/pins, and small handicrafts.

“The funds will support our “Bamboo Academy” or mobile training center where we will host regular trainings on all aspects of our business — from propagation, to processing, to production of bamboo structures and furnitures.  As a front-runner in bamboo processing, a big part of our business model is open access to increase uptake.  We want suppliers who know how to maintain their clumps year-to-year and plant more.  We want processors who understand treatment and why its important.  We need architects, engineers and contractors who know how to design and build with structural bamboo.  The Bamboo Academy is going to be busy!”, shared an excited Architect Villanueva.

To formalize the GIA Project, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)was signed between Kawayan Collective, DOST Negros Oriental, and DOST Region Office VII on 29 June 2021. Another MOA was drafted and signed between DOST-FPRDI and Kawayan Collective for the transfer of technology and construction of an Eco-dryer.

Finally on 15 February 2022, the Bamboo Learning Center and the Eco-dryer was inaugurated. (by Engr. Reinhold Jek Y. Abing/Science Research Specialist II, DOST Negros Oriental PSTC / updated March 3, 2022)

A laminated bamboo panel which can be used as a sliding door is one of the innovative products of Kawayan Collective as a product of the GIA funded project of DOST. (Photo courtesy of Kawayan Collective)