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Tramline project for abaca farmers in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes --- During the induction ceremony of the SiSiGui (Sipi, Sibacungan and Guinobatan) Abaca Farmers Association last July 8 at Sipi in the town of Bato, Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua declared that the provincial government will ensure that the tramline system will be fully implemented for the benefit of the farmers. With the commitment of the new set of officers and members of the association and others involved in the project, the local chief executive expressed hope that this would trigger the start of the improvement of the lives of the abaca farmers and their families. Under the project, the use of the tramline system will lessen the burden of transporting abaca fiber from the mountains to the lowlands or plains, thus saving the time and effort in transporting the products while increasing the productivity of the farmers themselves. The project will also generate more jobs and livelihood opportunity within the community. The governor also said the provincial government will train abaca farmers on merchandise stripping to speed up the fiber stripping process. The existing manual stripping takes hours of back-breaking labor. The capitol is also establishing a machine stripping station as well as fiber drying station that will be of great help to the farmers especially during the rainy season. Aside from the tramline project, abaca-based livelihood projects and enterprises will also be provided to abaca farmers and their families through collaboration with the respective local government units. A multi-party memorandum of agreement is also expected to be forged by the local government units regarding farm tourism projects. With all these in place, it is said that there will be no reason for the farmers to remain impoverished especially now that the price of abaca fibers has already increased. Meanwhile, Sipi Barangay Captain Noli Bernal expressed gratitude for the support the provincial government is extending to the farmers. He encouraged the farmers to focus on strengthening and improving their association in return for the efforts of the provincial government to fulfill the project. EAB/PIA5-Catanduanes

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