Abaca fiber production employs more residents in Natonin
by Juliet B. Saley
Natonin, Mt. Province (14 February) -- Abaca fiber production, a promising enterprise in this eastern town has generated more employment for the people of this municipality.
Benjamin Gayodan of the Department of Trade and Industry said more people in this municipality are now earning income from stripping. Bfore when the abaca fiber production started in 2003, people hired to do the stripping are from Bicol.
He said as of last year, there are already eight consolidators in the municipality to buy the raw abaca fibers from the strippers. Buying price of raw abaca fiber in barangays Kadaclan, Tonglayan, Banawel and Balangao is P17 per kilo while in barangays Poblacion and Saliok, is P25 per kilo.
Total sales of raw abaca fiber exclusive of local sales in 2008 amounted to P3.42M. Total volume of abaca fiber delivered to the Company buyers is 85.8 tons. Buying price of the company is P38-P42 per kilo depending on the quality.
With the naturally grown abaca now a source of income, some owners of the mountain with fully grown abaca are now prohibiting just anybody to harvest abaca. It is now the consolidator who talks with the owner of the mountain to allow the workers to harvest abaca. An agreement with some of the owners and the consolidator was made and that for every one kilo of raw abaca fiber produced by the laborers, the consolidator who coordinated with the lot owner pays P1.
Out of the abaca fiber produced, the Natonin Abaca Fiber Craft and Trading in this municipality make bags, wall decors, wine and cellphone cases using a design integrated with ethnic designs to be more unique.
According to Gayodan, the transport of abaca fibers is still the problem. Freight of the product is very costly. From the plantation to Natonin, it costs P1 per kilo and from Natonin to Paracelis is P2 per kilo then from Paracelis to Manila is about P12,000 to P18,000 for the Forward cargo truck which carries 4-5 tons.
Gayodan also batted for more technology assistance like stripping machines. Manual abaca stripping cannot produce much. Also urgently needed is a winding machine to wind abaca fibers because the workers here are doing the winding manually. (PIA MP) [top]