Abaca production up in 4Q 2015
The production of abaca fiber grew by 1.7 percent to 16,910 metric tons in the fourth quarter of 2015 as good market prices and favorable weather condition encouraged farmers.
The Philippines is the world’s biggest producer of abaca.
According to data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, increased demand for abaca in Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Catanduanes that meant good prices for producers.
Abaca is used in Philippine peso notes for durability. It is also used in tea and coffee bags, sausage casings, medical and food preparation, and various paper products.
The Bicol region is the biggest abaca producer, accounting for 7,170 tons or 33 percent of total output, followed by Eastern Visayas which accounts for 13 percent, and Davao region which accounts for nine percent.
The BAS, however, reported declines in abaca production in Aklan and Palawan.
The BAS said abaca production fell by 24 percent to 71 metric tons in Aklan because there were not enough workers to harvest and strip the plant. The BAS said farmers opted to devote their time in harvesting palay.
In Palawan, the prolonged dry spell plunged production by 79 percent to just 16 metric tons.
The BAS, however, reported a 0.1-percent decline in the area planted with abaca to 132,893 hectares in the second half of 2015 from 132,984 in the same period in 2014.
Stalks of the abaca are ready for harvest 18 to 24 months after planting. (Eileen A. Mencias)