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Abaca fiber and handicraft exports

(Part III)

Published

Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

The Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) created by Executive Order No. 709 on July 27, 1981 was the government agency mandated to promote and develop the Philippine natural fiber industry except cotton – before 2013. However, on May 29, 2013, FIDA ceased to be the government agency to supervise the abaca fiber industry.

Instead a new agency known as the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) took over the functions of FIDA. PhilFIDA is a consolidation of FIDA and the Cotton Development Administration (CODA). Both government agencies are under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Aside from abaca and cotton, the other natural fibers in the Philippines include buri, canton, caragomoy, kozo, maguey, mulberry, musa, pineapple, sabutan, salago, sisal, coir, raffia, buntal, piña and cocoon.

Despite the many problems besetting the Philippine Abaca Industry today (like the insufficient budget of PhilFIDA, the presence of the bunchy tops virus and the small abaca landholdings of the abaca farmers compared to the huge corporate abaca plantations in other countries), the Philippines is still the top producer of abaca fiber in the world. We have to give credit to the more than three hundred (300) staff of PhilFIDA – who inspite of the many constraints are doing a fantastic job of promoting the growth and development of the natural fibers industry through research and development, production support, fiber processing and utilization, standards implementation and trade regulation.

The head of PhilFIDA is Executive Director Kennedy T. Costales – who worked in the private sector before joining PhilFIDA. He has solid background about the abaca industry because he worked with an abaca exporter. The other officers in the PhilFIDA Central Office are: Engr. Petronilo B. Jabay – OIC, Deputy Executive Director; Rosalina P. Lizardo – Chief, Administrative, Financial & Management Division; Engr. Ramon M. Branzuela – Chief, Planning Division; Jose L. Catalla – Chief, Research Division; Remedios VJ. Abgona – Chief, Fiber Utilization & Technology Division; Lea A. Fernandez – Chief, Technical Assistance Division; Romeo O. Bordeos, Jr. – Chief, Regulatory Division.

In the Philippines, the total production of abaca fiber (in metric tons) is as follows: 2013 – 55,958.0 MT; 2014 – 66,004.2 MT; 2015 – 67,329.0 MT; 2016 – 72,819.8 MT; and in 2017 – 71,946.1 MT. (In January to July 2018, the production was 45,363.29 MT).

One may ask: What is the total production volume (in metric ton) of abaca fiber by region:

 

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As the chart shows, Bicol is the biggest regional producer of abaca fiber. In the Bicol Region, Catanduanes is the top producer. In fact, Catanduanes is the top provincial producer of abaca fiber in the whole Philippines.

But while the Philippines is the top producer of abaca fiber in the world, some companies in the Philippines still import abaca fiber from other countries as follows:

 

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To give one an idea of the total world consumption of abaca fiber, let me give you the hereunder information:

 

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(All data are from PhilFIDA)

To be continued

Have a joyful day! (For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com).

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