Abaca output up 11% in January-April

DESPITE the onslaught of El Niño, the country’s abaca production expanded by 11 percent to 21,017.2 metric tons (MT) in January to April, according to the latest data from the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFida).

PhilFida Executive Director Clarito M. Barron said El Niño had “no big impact” on abaca production, as the crop is usually grown in hilly and mountainous areas.

“According to reports from regional field offices, rice and corn farmers were forced to go up the mountains to harvest abaca. They did this to augment their income,” Barron said.

PhilFida data showed that the Bicol region remained as the top producer of abaca, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the country’s output in the first four months of the year.

The Bicol region’s production rose by 11.5 percent to 8,355.62 MT in January to April, from 7,494.87 MT posted a year ago.

Eastern Visayas was the country’s second top abaca producer, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the country’s output. The region produced 3,139.37 MT of abaca, 22.8 percent higher than the 2,555.81 MT recorded in January to April 2015.

Among all the abaca-producing regions, Western Visayas posted the biggest increase as it more than doubled its production to 680.31 MT during the period.

The biggest drop in output was recorded in the Zamboanga Peninsula at 39.3 percent. The region produced 119.3 MT in the first four months of the year.

PhilFida data also showed that export earnings from abaca products doubled to $11.02 million in January, from $5.44 million posted a year ago.

Export receipts from abaca pulp accounted for the lion’s share of earnings during the period at 67.4 percent. Producers earned $7.42 million, higher than the $2.83 million recorded in January 2015.

The United Kingdom and Japan were the top 2buyers of local abaca fiber, importing 517.5 MT and 425 MT, respectively.

The top 2 buyers of abaca pulp in January were also the UK and Japan, PhilFida data showed.

The Philippines accounts for 85 percent of world abaca supply. Abaca is known globally as Manila hemp.


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