Ever since his firm started using the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (DOST-FPRDI’s) furnace-type lumber dryer (FTLD), Cirilo Sumampong’s life has changed.

By Rizalina Araral & Anita Decena

He used to be a small lumber retailer in the town of Dauis in Bohol, but now, Sumampong is the province’s biggest supplier of custom-built furniture. His company, Bohol Furniture and Lumber Supply, earns a gross income of ₱1.16 million a month, and enjoys brisk business all year round.

Sumampong relates, “During our first years in the business, we were producing nothing but door jambs and air-dried lumber, and earning only ₱1,500 a month. Sales were good only between September and December each year. Now, with our kiln-dried wood, we make trusses, floor planks, doors, door jambs, and all kinds of furniture—beds, chairs, dining sets. Thanks to our number one [clients]—the hotels and beach resorts that have sprung all over Bohol in recent years—our products are in demand all the time.”

He continues, “When we decided to expand in 2012, we asked the Bohol Provincial S&T Center to help us acquire…[a] 10,000 board feet FTLD, they introduced us to DOST’s Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP, which gave us a grant of ₱1 million. During our first operation in 2014, we grossed a whopping ₱2.5 million from a beach resort owner.”

“From then on, life was never the same for us. While we used to consume only 7,000 board feet of lumber per year, we now use up to 100,000 board feet of gmelina and mahogany wood annually. Our product lines grew and because we knew that we were using quality materials, we gained confidence in dealing with our buyers.”

Clients soon saw the advantage of dealing with Sumampong and his company. “[They] became aware of the value of kilndried lumber and learned to trust our products. We were able to pay [back] the SETUP grant after one year, and later on, [we] bought a big lot where we put up another store and a showroom.

The dryer also created jobs for people in the community as we trained and hired operators.”

“We never expected this kind of success and we are very thankful for everything that the FTLD has brought to us,” Sumampong admits. “For now, we do not have plans of adding more units to our factory. We simply want to use our dryer to [provide] our clients [with] wood products that will last for a long time because these have been dried the best way possible.”

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s October 2017 issue.