Calinog, Iloilo –Indigenous Peoples (IP) of Barangays Supanga, Caratagan, Aglonok, Hilwan and Marandig availed the abaca technology training offered by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA).
Abaca is native to the Philippines. It is popularly known worldwide as Manila hemp with a botanical name of Musa textilis. Abaca fibers are already being woven in the different parts of the Philippines. In Western Visayas, the productivity of abaca farms in 2014 has coverage area of 8,829.82 meters with an average yield production of 0.185 percent per meter.
During the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), the IP communities requested for abaca training to increase their awareness and promote other means of livelihood. In partnership with PhilFIDA, training on Abaca Production Technology was conducted as part of their productivity-enhancing measures.
Through the efforts of PhilFIDA and NIA, IP were trained on farm practices and development of the abaca industry on May 26, 2016 at Brgy. Supanga, Calinog, Iloilo.
Antonio C. Castronuevo, Fiber Development Officer I (PhilFIDA), said that the Philippines is the major producer of abaca in the whole world approximately averaging to 85 percent. He added that during their ocular inspection, the areas of Supanga and Caratagan have potentials for abaca plantation. Good soil type and climatic condition, and training on the production of high value crops guarantee the IP of Calinog a lucrative abaca industry. Abaca will add variety to the livelihood of the IP in Calinog.
“Halin sang wala pa ako asawa gapananum na ako. Pagusto lang kami pananum, importante man nga man-an ang mga patakaran nya. Matipon kami kag ipabalo ko sa tanan nga mga tawo mananum didto sa bukid para sa pangabuhian (Before I got married, farming has been our livelihood. It is important to know this technology as I will be encouraging people in the mountains to plant more for livelihood),” said Proceso Andelisio, 48, of Brgy. Aglonok.
Highlights of the training include the increase in the awareness of abaca replanting technology and the benefit of using intercropping or multiple cropping system and practices to improve fiber quality. PhilFIDA representatives committed to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) top managements to work on the possibilities of incorporating the abaca technology on their agroforestry project in Calinog.
According to Jeden Lucio, 37, of Brgy. Marandig, “Subong na man-an ko nga iparayo ang dahun sa hilamun, pero ako ginatampok ko para abono, hindi gali pwede para e-compost. Nabal-an ko ang processo manami gid man. Pasalamat guid ko sa akon natun-an kag panudluan ko man mga kaingod ko kung paano magtanum,” (Now, I have learned that we should not cover the abaca with dead leaves as an organic fertilizer and that it must be processed first before mixing. Knowing the right process, I am thankful that I have learned something which I will be sharing to my fellow IP).
Considering these developments, providing an update on abaca industry is very important especially on the status, market potential, priority issues and suggested directions to further develop the industry.
PhilFIDA distributed a total of 30 planting bars to the training participants. These will be used by the community in their farming activities.
“Nagapasalamat gid ako kag ipatigayon ka tatlo ka departamento nga training diya sa Barangay Supanga kun paanu kami matudluan kadugang namun nga palangabuhian di ya sa bukid (I would like to thank the three government agencies on the training conducted in Barangay Supanga for teaching us another form of livelihood),” said Rosalinda G. Canja.
Everyone was encouraged to plant abaca and apply the schemes taught on proper farming for production increase. PhilFIDA will revisit the area to teach on fiber extraction and assess the livelihood programs under the abaca technology. /JP (Shimei M. Ramos, DC IV)