Rizal, a hilly and mountainous place, is a 5th class municipality in the province of Cagayan.

Generally, the people of this municipality earn their living from farming – integrating high value crops, such as banana and mango with rice and corn. The market demand for banana in Tuguegarao City and most of the municipalities in Cagayan and other provinces in the region is supplied by farmers from Rizal where mountain and hill slopes are mostly covered with bananas.

Until recently, the banana growers in Rizal drew income only from the fruits of the banana. Little did they know that banana barks which become waste after fruit harvest could be transformed into income generating value-adding products.

During a nine-day Banana Bark Leather-craft Skills Training cum Product Development on April 10-18, 2018 in Anagguan, Rizal, Cagayan,some 15 farmers were trained on how to manipulate banana barks to produce hand bags, sling bags, laptop envelopes, tote bags and other items.

Experts, Ms. Imelda Datul of Dekostyle Design Services and Mr. Romulo Tapel of TRENDisenio Product Design and Consultancy served as trainors, with a team of weavers, needle workers and designers who provided assistance in the execution of designs.

In her message after the training, Rizal Mayor Brenda B. Ruma assured the training beneficiaries that the Local Government Unit of Rizal will continue to provide support and assistance to the group in order to sustain their new undertaking.

Aside from banana barks, buri and rattan, were also used as raw materials during the training to make utility items like fruit trays, hampers, stools and mats. Like bananas, these raw materials are also abundant in the locality.

The training, which was initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry – Cagayan Provincial Office, formed part of the 1.6 million Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) project awarded to the municipality of Rizal.