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Cooperative scheme eyed for abaca tuxy buying project
Thursday, 08 February 2018

The government plans to implement a cooperative scheme in abaca tuxy buying project in its bid to develop the abaca sector.

The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) said the project aims to organize and empower abaca farmers nationwide as a cooperative to produce their own abaca fibers as a group which will result to better quality, competitive price and increased quantity of fibers.

This will help group of farmers to sell their harvest directly to grading and baling establishments (GBEs) and local processors.

"This will strengthen the cooperativism approach which is an effective tool in the implementation of government agricultural projects and interventions and this will create additional benefits and advantages to all members," said PhilFIDA Executive Director Kennedy Costales.

The abaca tuxy buying project also aims to reduce by half to only six steps the 12 stages traditional way of abaca fiber extraction and harvesting.

These are topping, tumbling, tuxying, tuxy bundling, tuxy transporting/hauling and tuxy trading/selling.

"The traditional process is very much labor intensive. This scheme will remove the burden of the abaca farmers of the other six activities and just let them continue producing all the abaca tuxies they want for the day before selling it to their cooperative that same day. This project will surely increase abaca fiber production," Costales explained.

The project envisions the abaca farmers capable of running their own cooperative and having their own healthcare centers and grocery stores to cater to the various needs of its members.

As they progress, farmer members may eventually venture into exporting their abaca baled fibers, establish their own cordage factory or even pulp their own abaca, and manufacture it into sophisticated end products.

Also under the project, they will not just be farmers but will become entrepreneurs since the project targets to eliminate the participation of traders/middlemen.

PhilFIDA technicians will train, guide and assist the abaca farmers on all aspects of production, including administrative work, warehousing and fiber trading, grading and classification.

PhilFIDA aims to replicate such process in the extraction of other natural fibers like banana, pineapple, coir, salago, buntal, raffia, maguey, sisal and cotton after in-depth study and research.

Meanwhile, three varieties of commercially planted abaca have been registered with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) --abuab, inosa and tangongon.

The approved varieties would be the ones recommended for commercial planting especially in the abaca plant nurseries that are applying for accreditation in the agency.

The registration of such varieties, a first for abaca, provides assurance these have passed the test of fiber quality in terms of yield and fiber recovery, among others.