Abaca output seen declining this year

The country’s abaca production could fall below last year’s 73,000 metric tons (MT), as farmers are more focused on improving the quality of their crop, according to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFida).

PhilFida Executive Director Kennedy T. Costales made the statement after abaca output recorded a 2.8-percent year-on-year drop in output in the January-to-April period.

The Philippines produced 24,004.96 MT of abaca during the four-month period, lower than the 24,694.99 MT recorded in the same period last year.

“[This] is because we are vigorously addressing the issues on spurious fibers mixed intentionally in the abaca bundles like Daratex, Canton, MSP, Pakol and even the Lalusin abaca hybrid and also the low quality of abaca fibers produced locally,” Costales said.

“Abaca farmers are now only harvesting and stripping real abaca and the quality of the fibers are now slowly, but surely improving,” he added.

The PhilFida, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, earlier estimated that total abaca output last year settled at 73,000 MT.

During the January-to-April period, the Bicol region’s abaca output declined by 31.5 percent to 7,022.80 MT, from 10,253.14 MT recorded in the same period last year.

The Bicol region, which remained as the country’s top abaca producer, accounted for 28.63 percent of the total output during the four-month period.

In February the PhilFida said abaca production this year could grow by as much as 2.73 percent to 75,000 MT. Costales said 2017 output likely reached 73,000 MT, slightly higher than the previous year’s 72,819 MT.

Data provided by the agency showed that the country’s abaca output in January to November 2017 registered flat growth and settled at 67,057.65 MT.

The PhilFida chief also said the agency is spending P15 million this year to expand the country’s abaca plantations by at least 1,428 hectares to increase production. He expects output to register increases by 2020 as abaca matures within 18 months to 24 months from planting.


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