P800-M to revive the abaca industry
By Rose Palacio
Davao City (15 December) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to revive the abaca industry by strengthening "Oplan Sagip Abaca" program and putting a stop to the dreaded abaca disease which caused the decline of abaca production.
The Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) has drafted the 10=year National Abaca Development program slated to start with a set of components worth P800-million.
President Arroyo said Philippine abaca, which accounts for 85 percent of the world supply, brings jobs and foreign exchange averaging US$ 80-million a year.
Last year, the United States and China have planned to use abaca pulp as a component in their current notes, a report disclosed by one of the Philippines' largest abaca exporting firms.
FIDA technical regional director Romulo Palcon said the demand for abaca remains strong in the world and more farmers are needed to supply raw abaca fiber.
"The problem of the abaca industry is not only on the demand side, but on the supply side. The government is encouraging farmers to grow more abaca to meet the demand,| he said.
The 10-year National Abaca Development program's components include: the development of Genetically Modified Abaca; development of virus-resistant abaca (Musa Textiles Nee Cultivar Using Modern Biotechnology); abaca disease mapping, eradication, control and prevention; alternative livelihood (Ang Abaca mo, Neneng") project; "Gulayan sa Abakahan" project, "Hayop sa Ganda" project; production and distribution of disease-free abaca planting materials (abaca disease indexing, production of abaca tissue culture plantlets, maintenance of abaca seed banks); abaca replanting and expansion; community-based abaca techno demo farm; commercialization of mechanized fiber extraction process in abaca (establishment of model abaca spindle stripping centers, marketing support services, farmer trainings); abaca insurance; production and distribution of information and promotional materials; and program organization, management and monitoring. (PIA) [top]