2 associations of abaca farmers in the town of San Luis, Agusan del Sur, received support from the Department of Agriculture in Caraga Region (DA-Caraga) under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program.
In a statement on Friday, DA-Caraga said the support to some 160 abaca farmers in the form of farm machinery and equipment will improve the quality of abaca fiber products.
The abaca farmers from barangays Cecilia and Muritula got four portable spindle-stripping machines and two hand tractors, amounting PHP1 million.
The farm equipment and machinery were formally handed over to the organizations through Santos A. Escalicas, chairperson of the Muritula Usad Farmers Association, and Bienvenido C. Gallarde, chairperson of Cecilia Abaca-Corn Farmers Association.
DA-Caraga was represented during the turn-over ceremony by Roberto Hipolao Jr., the DA-SAAD deputy program coordinator for Caraga.
In accepting the assistance, Escalicas said quality abaca fiber means higher income for them.
“The equipment handed to us will provide us the comfort in operation because of its mobility and this will give us quality produced of abaca fibers that will lead to more market linkages. We are very grateful for DA-SAAD Caraga for granting this project to us,” he said.
The abaca farmers also received planting materials and support, including technical assistance from DA-Caraga with the support of the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the statement added.
The technical support included training aimed to establish and enhance the abaca farms in the area through the introduction of better farm management practices, the DA-Caraga said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in a quarterly bulletin released from April to June this year reported a slight increase by 0.1 percent of the production of abaca fibers in the country, or from 18.89 thousand metric tons in the same quarter in 2018 to 18.91 thousand metric tons.
Easter Visayas and Caraga regions followed Bicol Region in terms of high production of abaca fiber during the period, contributing 19.5 percent and 13.1 percent respectively, the PSA report added. (PNA)