AGUSAN DEL SUR, August 8, 2022 – Eighteen (18) Caraga abaca farmers assisted by the Department of Agriculture- Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA- SAAD) Program participated in the Abaca Forum held in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, on July 29, 2022.
The abaca forum, organized by the SAAD regional team, sought to supplement farmers’ knowledge on commodity, fiber classification, and value-added products. Aside from the farmers, fiber traders in the region, personnel from the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) and Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) participated in the forum, sharing technical knowledge during the lectures and open forum.
Abaca production is among the big-ticket projects of the Program with an allocation of Php 40.1 million provided to six associations in the municipalities of Talacogon (1), San Luis (2), Rosario (1), and Veruela (1) in Agusan del Sur, and Bayabas (1) in Surigao del Sur. Five of the projects were established in 2019, another one in 2021, with yearly support up to 2022, benefiting 356 abaca farmers in the region.
Table 1. SAAD-funded abaca projects in Caraga Region
*based on actual (2019-2020) and allocation (2021-2022)
The FA members are old and new abaca farmers. With most projects expected to mass harvest by the fourth quarter of 2022, their immediate concerns include securing partnerships with traders.
To Gil Gabales, CuSAFA president, the forum addressed his long-time query about abaca fiber grading and classification. He and his members admitted to selling both S2 (high grade) and Binaba (low grade) fibers at the same price.
“Nakatabang ang forum aron kami mga farmers makahibalo sa grado ug balor sa among fibers. Karon, pwede nami maka negotiate sa mga trader aron ma presyohan og tarong ang fiber ug mas mo dako ang among halin,” Gabales expressed.
(The forum helped us to know more about the grade and value of our fiber produce. We will negotiate with traders to value our fibers according to their grade so that we can also earn more).
PhilFIDA Supervising Science Research Specialist Marnelli Racsa encouraged the farmers to classify their fiber from low to high grade right after stripping to prevent mixing them up and retain their value upon selling to traders.
The forum is part of the sustainability efforts of the Program in time for its Phase 1 conclusion this year.
This year, the regional management support office continues to assist all FAs in securing partnerships with traders in the region and linking them to other government agencies, such as the PhilFIDA, for technical assistance. ###
Writer: Mark Angelo Pineda, DA- SAAD Caraga Information Officer
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