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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesSaturday, June 16, 2012
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‘Demand for fiber growing’

The Fiber Industry Development Authority has intensified abaca production with 100 additional hectares of abaca plantations in Sta. Catalina town, Negros Oriental, to meet the growing demand in the national and international markets for natural fiber.

Provincial Fiber Officer Nena Locsin of FIDA said some P3.2 million was allocated from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ convergence fund to increase the area production of quality abaca fiber.

Locsin said there are some pending orders but local fiber producers cannot cope with the demand.

However, Locsin said FIDA is in the process of training abaca farmers and more "sinamay" weavers to upgrade their skills in the production of high-value abaca products.

With the funding assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment, a group of weavers in barangay San Antonio, Sibulan town underwent sinamay weaving training.

The group also underwent a series of trainings for handloom weaving, dyeing, and processing.

FIDA reported that, despite threats of abaca disease, abaca production last year in the province reached P30.38 million in sinamay, abaca and salago fibers sales.

The province shipped out more than 500 metric tons of high grade and loose abaca fiber to various businesses, Locsin said.

However, Locsin also reported lately that some abaca plantation have been damaged by bunchy top, tract mosaic, and abaca mosaic diseases due to improper cutting of the plant by some farmers.

Although some mosaic infestation is being contained, the Provincial Agriculturist Office advised to utilize its “Bantay Peste” trained farmers to assist on the elimination of the particular pests in the area.*RG

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