Production and Market Scenario
As of 2008, the Philippines has an approximate total land area of 751.1 hectares planted to salago, the largest of which is in Central Visayas having 694.1 hectares. The corresponding hectarage of salago-producing areas are as follows.
DISTRICT OF PRODUCTION HECTARAGE Southern Tagalog 2.0 Marinduque 2.0 Western Visayas 55.0 Aklan 40.0 Antique 15.0 Central Visayas 694.1 Bohol 140.0 Cebu 426.1 Negros Orinetal 120.0 Siquijor 8.0 TOTAL 751.1
During the past ten years beginning 1999, production of salago fiber averaged 623 mt. Due to the two-year harvest cycle of salago, production of the fiber exhibited a fluctuating trend. Production was at its peak in 2001 recorded at 788 mt with Central Visayas as the major producing region. The lowest production level was in 2008 registered at 486 mt.
Central Visayas, particularly Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol and Siquijor are the major producing areas contributing a ten-year average of 600 mt or 96.4% of the average national production during the period.
Local processing of salago into pulp started only in 1985 but eventually stopped in 1990 due to limited supply of the fiber. According to a pulp company which pioneered in salago pulp production in the country, its salago requirement was 70 mt per month but was able to purchase only 60 mt annually. Most of the exporters would rather export their fibers since they are offered higher prices than those of domestic processors. In 1998, however, processing of salago into pulp resumed in Cagayan de Oro City for the export market particularly in Taiwan but eventually stopped as Taiwan ceased its impportation.
From 1999 to 2008, domestic consumption which averaged 73 mt per year, showed a fluctuating pattern which is attributed to the irregular demand of buyers and the harvesting cycle of the plant which happens every two years. Salago fiber is used mainly by the local handmade papermakers.
Annual Domestic Consumption of Salago Fiber 1999 – 2008 YEAR Domestic Consumption (in mt) 1999 138 2000 71 2001 46 2002 120 2003 50 2004 94 2005 51 2006 62 2007 38 2008 55 AVERAGE 73
During the ten-year period, the country exported an average of 506 mt of salago fiber valued at US $ 343,147.00. Thailand was the biggest buyer importing an average of 161 mt or 31.9% of the average export volume. China, Taiwan and Japan have likewise regularly imported salago from the Philippines absorbing 28.3%, 21.1% and 18.3%, respectively, of the annual average exports.
From 1998 to 2001, an average export of 14 mt of salago pulp was made solely to Taiwan. From an initial 5 mt in 1998, export volume rose to 20 mt in 1999 but declined to only 10 mt in 2001 and eventually stopped in the following year. Average export earnings from salago pulp reached US$ 42,800.00 during this four-year period.