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FIDA eyes 1,000 hectares in new abaca plantation

Published on 21 January 2013 [ manilatimes.net ]
Written by JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ
The Philippines plans to open this year at least 1,000 hectares of new abaca plantations in a bid to meet requirement for abaca fibers in the local and foreign markets.
Cecilia Gloria Soriano, Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) administrator, said that the agency is currently collaborating with various local government units, as well as farmers’ organizations in major abaca producing provinces, for the establishment of abaca nurseries that will be used for the expansion program.
“Among the areas identified for the opening of new plantations, includes Bicol, Visayas, western and northern Mindanao, Davao, Caraga and Mimaropa region,” Soriano said. Mimaropa is Region 4B.
FIDA will also rehabilitate 600 hectares of old and unproductive, disease and typhoon-damaged fibercrop areas in Bicol and western and eastern Visayas.
The FIDA chief said that they would also provide technical assistance and vital inputs, which includes high-yielding and disease-free abaca planting materials.
At present, the agency is conducting different experiments for seed banking, tissue culture, diagnostics and immunology, which are all strategically located throughout the country.
Soriano said that the implementation of abaca disease management project will be sustained this year covering 15 municipalities with relatively high percentage disease incidence. In 2012, the project covered nine municipalities.
“This benefited their abaca farms and ensure the continuous supply of abaca fibers in the local and foreign markets,” she said.
Soriano said that the project this year targets to reduce the percentage disease incidence in 5,000 hectares abaca farms to improve production.
As of October 2012, the value of abaca exports dropped by 25.1 percent to $91.35 million, from $122.01 million in the first ten months of 2011 because of continued weak demand from major markets abroad.
The value of abaca pulp exports, which contributed 70.6 percent to total abaca exports, fell by 28.6 percent to $64.53 million for the period January-October 2012 from $90.37 million recorded during the same period the previous year.
“The decrease is mainly caused by the decline in demand from our main markets,” FIDA said, adding that the reduced demand was caused by the European crisis.
FIDA noted that abaca exports have been declining since June last year, adding that the European markets—which consists 61 percent of the total exports—have not been able to recover from the economic slump.
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