Country: The Philippines
2013 – 2016
The project aims to:
- support sustainable supply of abaca fibers in the mountainous areas of Panay, Philippines particularly the provinces of Iloilo and Aklan
- certify 500 hectares abaca farms and increase income of smallholder farmers
The Philippines have a long history of abaca production and are the world’s major producer and supplier of abaca fibers. Abaca, a variety of banana also known as ‘Manila hemp’, is widely grown in the mountainous areas of the Philippines and is a source of livelihood of thousand small holder farmers. Recently, the demand for natural fibers as a choice material for tea bags, coffee filter papers, engineered papers, cordage and for further uses is increasing. However, cultivation is not sustainable due to slash and burn farming, widespread infestation of pest and diseases, lack of farm-to-market roads, poor production technologies, traditional harvesting methods and poor marketing channels. If these aforementioned problems are not given solutions this results to declining abaca production, loss of livelihood of thousands of farmers, degradation of the environment/biodiversity and the loss of the country’s export earnings.