By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The province of Lanao del Sur is now eyeing to lead the production of abaca in the Philippines or at least secure a spot in the list of top five abaca producers in the entire country.
Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT) – Lanao del Sur Senior Trade Industry Development Specialist Abdul Bashit Sabdullah shared that in the previous years, the province had already recognized certain places that excelled in the abaca plantation such as the municipalities of Madamba, Calanogas, Ganassi and Binidayan.
He added that as another year entered, the Piagapo town came into play following its well-managed operation and its gained capability of directly transacting with Newtech Pulp, Inc, one of the leading buyers of abaca products.
Sabdullah further bared that the province has also made a name as the top seven abaca producer in the country in 2019, yielding 3,059.81 metric tons or 4.4% share in the national record of abaca production, but such dropped to top nine in 2020 after logging output of 2,092.63 metric tons or 3.4% share.
Nonetheless, the MTIT-Lanao del Sur maintained its optimism that the province would hit the target of becoming the fifth key abaca producer nationwide, especially since it also intends to promote and expand the production of abaca across its borders.
The Lanao del Sur Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) likewise expressed its positivity to even beat the province of Catanduanes which is the number one and largest supplier of abaca, thus, known at the moment as the abaca capital of the Philippines.
Lanao del Sur Agriculturist II Abdullah Datuharon presented that his office bears the specific objective of doubling the production of abaca to cope with the current record of the province.
“Ang goal ng abaca mass production namin is para at least, dumami tayo kasi hindi suntok sa buwan na maging top one tayo sa buong Pilipinas. Gagawin natin ang lahat para hindi man tayo maging top one ay makapasok naman tayo sa top five,” he said.
[The goal of our abaca mass production is at least, we can increase because it is not impossible for us to be the top 1 in the whole Philippines. We will do everything so that even if we do not become the top one, we will be in the top five.]
Alongside the solid goal for the abaca production here, the government has then encouraged the planters to be more driven in making progress for their industry as they are not left alone, rather, they have partners that are willing to support them by any means.
“To our abaca farmers, ituloy-tuloy lang natin ang ating livelihood. Mag-expand tayo at we seek assistance naman ng different ministries. Not only MTIT ang tumutulong sa abaca [industry]. Nandiyan ang ibang ministries na pwedeng makatulong sa inyo, sa farmers,” said Sabdullah.
[To our abaca farmers, just continue your livelihood. Let us expand and we seek assistance from different ministries. The MTIT is not the only one helping the abaca [industry]. Other ministries can als help you, the farmers.] (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)