THE country’s abaca production continues to sustain its upward trend as output from January to August expanded by nearly 10 percent to 44,796.21 metric tons from 40,744.97 MT, latest government data showed.
The double-digit increase in output was driven by higher production in the regions of Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao, based on latest data released by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFida).
PhilFida data showed that Bicol Region remained as the country’s top abaca producing-region as it accounted for 32 percent of the total eight-month output.
However, abaca production in the Bicol region declined by 2.9 percent to 14,525.97 MT from last year’s 14.960.88 MT due to lower output in Albay and Sur.
The production in the country’s abaca capital, Catanduanes, grew by 1.4 percent to 12,179.46 MT from 12,015.53 MT recorded in the eight-month period of last year, based on PhilFida data.
PhilFida data showed that abaca output in Northern Mindanao grew by 81.1 percent to 5,540.69 MT from last year’s 3,059.80 MT.
Davao region’s abaca production, the country’s second-largest producer of the natural fiber, increased by 2.6 percent year-on-year to 8,728.57 MT, PhilFida data also showed.
Abaca production in Western Visayas grew by 62.8 percent year-on-year to 2,553.87 MT while output in Eastern Visayas expanded by 34.9 percent to 3,121.38 MT from 2,313.20 MT recorded last year.
Central Visayas’ abaca output rose by 33.5 percent to 194.07 MT year-on-year, based on PhilFida data. The BusinessMirror earlier reported that barring strong typhoons, the country’s abaca output this year may expand to a 3-year high due to robust output in the above-mentioned regions.
PhilFida Executive Director Kennedy T. Costales earlier told the BusinessMirror that domestic abaca production may grow by 18.33 percent to 70,000 metric tons (MT) this year, particularly if the sector can sustain the 10.2-percent production growth rate it posted in the seven-month period.
The last time Philippine abaca production breached the 70,000-MT level was in 2018, when output reached 76,259.38 MT, based on historical PhilFida data.
“We pray for good weather so that our farmers will have an abundant harvest. We project that the Philippines will breach 70,000 MT by year-end, [higher] than the 61,491.67 metric tons. Output may even surpass 70,000 MT,” Costales said last month.
Movement restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19 coupled with the devastation caused by Typhoon Rolly pulled down the country’s abaca output last year to a 7-year low.
PhilFida data obtained and analyzed by the BusinessMirror showed that abaca production last year declined by 11.94 percent to 61,491.67 MT from the 69,828.8 MT recorded in 2019. Historical PhilFida data, dating back to 1980, showed that this is the lowest abaca output by the country since the 55,958 MT recorded in 2013.
The Philippines is the world’s top producer and exporter of abaca, accounting for about 84 percent of global market share.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes