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Escudero wants Sorsogon as Bicol’s No. 1 abaca producer

By Connie Calipay

Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero is eyeing to make the province one of the top producers of abaca in the region with the new building and facility of the Philippine Fiber Industry and Development Authority (PhilFIDA) in the town of Juban.

In a statement, Escudero said PhilFIDA is conducting a study to boost abaca production in a bid to reclaim the province’s position as a top contributor to abaca output of the region.

Aside from the new office building which it inaugurated recently, the new PhilFIDA complex in Barangay Cogon features the new Sorsogon tissue culture laboratory and the four-hectare abaca nursery farm. PhilFIDA is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“The provincial nursery, more or less four hectares if I am not mistaken, is just in the beginning of its development. We will develop this provincial nursery to maximize its potential. In the end, we want to make it a model and demo farm, particularly for the Provincial Agriculturist Office and also for the seedlings of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office,” Escudero said.

PhilFIDA Regional Director Mary Anne Molina said tissue culture is a state-of-the art method or technique in producing abaca planting materials because from a single sucker, it could produce over 1,000 pieces of abaca planting material on a 12-month cycle.

“So the propagation of abaca is easier. It is faster for us to reproduce and there are more benefits. The agency aims to provide technical service such as distributing and propagating plants via the tissue culture method,” she said.

According to PhilFIDA in Sorsogon, the new facility in Barangay Cogon will be accessible to all abaca farmers, investors, researchers, and even to tourists.

In its Facebook post, the agency said the laboratory and the nursery were funded by the provincial government.

Molina said Bicol remains the country’s number one producer of abaca fiber, while Sorsogon used to be a top contributor. At present, the province of Catanduanes is the top abaca producer in the region.

She thanked Escudero and the provincial government for the support in the revival and development of the abaca industry in the province, ushering in a “renewed and stronger relationship between the province and the PhilFIDA.”

Jose Catalla, the chief science research specialist, said “we see and appreciate the province’s trust and confidence in PhilFIDA. That as a national government agency, we are helping in the development of the province of Sorsogon, especially the abaca industry, and uplift the livelihood of the Sorsoganon abacaneros (abaca workers).”

“We at PhilFIDA will strive hard and give our best efforts and help uplift the lives of the Sorsoganon abacaneros even with our meager resources,” he added. (PNA)


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