Abaca and Pina Fiber Farmers in Capiz and Aklan gear up for production, processing, and marketing

Decortication is a mechanized method of fiber extraction where leaf sheats are inserted and scraped by means revolving wheels.

Banga, Aklan -  In a common goal to meet the growing demand for abaca and piña fiber in the country, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for Western Visayas has partnered with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority to train farmers and processors from Capiz and Aklan on production, processing, and marketing.
The Institute tapped experts from the Natural Fiber Resource Center of Aklan State University for updates on the current demand for fiber and its uses. “Private businesses/traders are interested in buying bulks of fiber for processing” Dir. Lelisa J. Teodosio, Ph.D said during her lecture. “they intend to use the fiber in the fabrication of boats and fiber glass and they will be needing tons of it.” she added.
The country accounts for 85 percent in the global production of abaca fiber. As per reports from the Philippines Abaca Fiber Market Forecast and Opportunities, the market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.7% until 2019. As the demand grows, more farmers will be needed to produce and process the abaca and piña fiber products to meet the consumers’ need.
In Region 6, the hilly parts of Panay Island such as Aklan, Antique, and Capiz have great potential for fiber production. Because of favorable productions sites, the abaca and piña fiber produced in the areas, particularly in the province of Aklan, are most durable and of good quality.
 “The Institute in the Region, together with Aklan State University and partner agencies, has long been conducting trainings for fiber production and has even organized piña symposiums," ATI RTC 6 Training Center Superintendent Dr. Eden DLR. Bautista said during the opening, “and we shall continue to equip our farmers with the necessary skills and linkages they need so they can equally benefit from this opportunity.” she added. 
The training held 22-24 February 2017 at the ATI Training Hall in Banga, Aklan, covered lectures on the business potential of fiber and good agricultural practices particularly on the cultural management, care and maintenance of abaca and pina fiber production, processing, and marketing. The Institute has also tapped the Banga Fiber Nursery and the Aklan Pina Fiber Producers Association in Balete, Aklan to provide the farmers with hands-on training on extraction and grading, pest identification, and control. They were also taken to the Handicraft of Multipurpose Cooperative and the San Ramon Abaca Handicrafts Association, both people’s organizations, for fiber product appreciation and market orientation. Planting materials were also  provided as part of the training support. //ATIRTC6/ISS/JGT