PH gov’t distributes abaca seed-derived planting materials
Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), is distributing free planting materials to boost the country’s production of abaca, a material that can be used to make face masks.
“We, PHILFIDA, distributes free abaca seed-derived planting materials on a first come first served basis. Before the said distribution, the area or site to be planted upon must be prepared already,” PHILFIDA Executive Director Kennedy Costales said.
“The whole area must be underbrushed, staked and dugged beforehand to ensure that it will really be planted in the field and not just stored beside or under the house. If not, said free planting materials will not be released. This is the only condition we require from our beneficiaries/recipients,” he added.
According to Costales, there are four kinds of abaca planting materials, namely seed-derived, suckers, corms/eye buds; and tissue culture.
In 2019, PhilFIDA distributed about 3 million planting materials or equivalent to about 3,000 hectares.
“This year, most probably the same. By 2021, we project to triple the output as we will start harvesting some of the 17- hectare Tissue Culture Seed-Derived Abaca Nurseries strategically established all over the abaca producing provinces,” Costales said.
Right now, PhilFIDA Northern Mindanao is promoting locally produced eco-friendly face masks produced by Salay Handmade Products Industries Incorporated (SHAPII).
The face mask is made from abaca fiber which were converted to special filters. The filters, suitable for protection, were sewn together by 120 skillful crafters from Salay, Misamis Oriental.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 10 affirmed that the mask is seven times more efficient than a regular cloth mask.