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Raian Lantawa, chairman of Tapak Abaca Farmers Marketing Cooperative says a total of 82 hectares are planted to abaca. “Unlike other crops such as corn and upland rice, abaca are not prone to pests,” he says.

The limiting factor though is the lack of stripping machines for extraction of fiber.

“DA regional office provided us the stripping machine which hasten the extraction process and makes it less laborious,” he says. Their co-op now regularly supplies a leading trader in the city for at least 2 tons per month.

Lantawa says they are eyeing a Japanese buyer which intends to buy abaca fiber directly from the farmers.

To meet the demand of the Japan market he says they need to expand fiver production which requires more stripping machines. He is optimistic that with coming of PRDP [Philippine Rural Development Project] they can meet the required volume and quality.

“PRDP enabled us to see the huge potential for abaca and how to improve production and marketing system,” he says.

Lantawa looks forward to improving the income of abaca farmers in their village.

“I hope that when my fellow lumads will have stable income, every Christmas season they will go to city proper shopping instead of begging,” he says. | via InfoACE Region XI