Last October, farmer leaders, extension workers, agriculture technicians, and local partners of USAID Protect Wildlife project went through a five-day training of trainers on abaca production technology and geotagging in Kiamba, Sarangani.
The workshop aimed to develop a pool of abaca production para-technicians, increase the number of abaca technicians, improve and expand service delivery to upland and indigenous communities, and commission at least 20 farmer-coaches for abaca production in Sarangani.
The participants learned how to assess abaca farms, identify and eradicate diseases, extract and classify fiber, and process and report data. The session on geotagging and mapping would help local partners to validate existing abaca areas, which could be used to monitor and evaluate future production.
The project and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority—the lead agency in promoting and accelerating the fiber industry—are working together to provide technology support to 120 abaca farmers in the region for the consolidation, processing and marketing of abaca fiber.
Abaca farming is being actively promoted by both private and public sectors as an alternative to indiscriminate cutting of trees, thereby reducing threats to forests and terrestrial biodiversity. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)