Abaca export earnings up 3.1% in 2015

Revenues from abaca exports rose by 3.1 percent to $114.79 million in 2015, from $111.33 million recorded a year ago, according to the latest data from the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFida).

PhilFida data also showed that abaca-fiber exports from January to December 2015 rose by 23.02 percent to 12,009.88 metric tons (MT), from 9,762.75 MT, in 2014.

The top buyer of Philippine abaca fiber last year was the United Kingdom, which accounted for 5,817.5 MT of total purchases.

Outward shipments of abaca pulp during the period also rose by 6.1 percent to 22,199.91 MT, from 20,915.63 MT a year ago.

The bulk of the exports went to Germany, which imported 8,630.59 MT; and the UK, which purchased 6,385.42 MT. Meanwhile, abaca-cordage exports declined by 12.5 percent to 4,458.28 MT last year, from 5,092.92 MT in 2014.

Nearly 68 percent, or 3,028.51 MT, of total abaca-cordage shipments last year went to the United States.

PhilFida Director Clarito M. Barron attributed the hike in export receipts to increasing global demand for abaca as consumers become more conscious of the need to protect the environment.

Barron said there is a growing trend among rich countries to go back to the use of biodegrable materials, such as plant fibers.

He said more uses for biodegradable fibers, like abaca, are being discovered. Abaca is currently being used in the production of tea bags and coffee filters, as well as automotive parts, such as dashboards and panels.

Barron said there is a need to increase the local output of abaca to take advantage of higher global demand.

PhilFida data showed that the country’s production of abaca fiber in the first two months of 2016 rose by 14.7 percent to 10,622.31 MT, higher than the 9,262.86 MT posted in the same period last year.

The Bicol region remains the top producer of abaca during the period, as it accounted for 4,122.19 MT of total output.


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