Visayas Cluster Abaca Summit in Cebu City Unites Abaca Industry Stakeholders for a Sustainable Future

Date Posted 12 October 2023

In a significant collaboration, the Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) and the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA) came together to host the three-day Visayas Cluster Abaca Summit. This momentous event drew participants from across the abaca industry, including farmer leaders, private sector representatives, partners in local government units (LGUs), and other government and non-government agencies. The summit, held in Cebu City, aimed to address pressing challenges and forge solutions to ensure the future sustainability and resilience of the Visayas Abaca Industry.

The Key Highlights of the Abaca Summit provided a vital platform for key players and stakeholders in the abaca industry to engage in constructive discussions. The primary objectives included Identifying and addressing industry challenges, particularly in the context of extending support to farmers, Sharing experiences, innovations, market standards, and opportunities, Establishing and strengthening market networks for potential collaborations, Developing a concrete Extension Service Action Plan, And garnering commitment and support from industry stakeholders to implement the action plan and steer the industry in the right direction.

The summit tackled a wide range of topics crucial to the abaca industry, such as but not limited to the overview of the Abaca Industry: Status and Prospects, Abaca production practices and challenges faced by producers, Techniques for detecting Abaca Virus Diseases, Post-Harvest Technology and Mechanization, Philippine National Standards for Abaca, Evaluation of the Extension Service Delivery System in Eastern Visayas, The role of LGUs in Agricultural Development. Global Market Trends and Investment Opportunities, Market Demand and Opportunities in Pulp, Cordage, Fiber Craft, Grading, and Baling Establishment.

Atty. Genevieve E. Velicaria-Guevarra, in her keynote address, emphasized the critical role of the abaca industry in the Philippine economy. “Although non-food, abaca plays a pivotal role, providing livelihoods for countless farmers and workers. In 2022, the Visayas Cluster, encompassing Central, Eastern, and Western Visayas, contributed a substantial 12% to the nation's total abaca fiber production. Notably, both Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas played a significant part, accounting for 6% of the total abaca fiber production. However, the industry faces challenges, including the impact of abaca diseases, lower-grade fiber production, and the effects of climate change, including typhoons. This year, statistics show a decline in abaca fiber production in the Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas. The Abaca Summit is a pivotal step toward addressing these challenges and ensuring a prosperous future for the abaca industry”.