New value-adding program and projects in the use of abaca hybrids to be proposed

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – New value-adding program and projects for abaca are on the way for funding by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) following a consultation meeting held recently at the Council’s headquarters. 

The proposed programs and projects are offshoots of the success of backcross abaca production with native accessions and every desirable trait, also known as ‘Bandala’ hybrids. 

Headed by Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio, Director of the Crops Research Division (CRD) of DOST-PCAARRD, along with Ms. Renelle C. Yebron, Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) Manager for Abaca of CRD, the meeting finalized the areas where R&D initiatives will be focused on to boost the economic value of abaca hybrid and to make it acceptable as one of the sources of fibers in the country.

The meeting was also participated by experts and key players from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Forest Products, Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), and the Philippine Paper Manufacturers Association, Inc. (PPMAI). 

During the activity, the team agreed to concentrate in the use of abaca for textile and as a reinforcement material for optimized and recycled papers. Other potential uses of abaca hybrids were also discussed, including dissolving pulp technology as nanofiber membrane pulp for filtration, abaca extracts as additive for improved paper production, and abaca as one of the raw materials for paper money production.  

In line with the targets of the Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) for Abaca, the said proposals are expected to improve the demand of abaca fibers and farmer’s income in the country.