OIC-Director Clarito M. Barron (PhilFIDA) together with the La Paz, Agusan del Sur Mayor Ambrosio Lim (LGU) and the Manobo Indigenous Cultural Communities of Agusan (MICCA) Chairperson Merlyn Cuguit-Hernandez and President Pedro Francisco O. Hernandez signed a Memorandum of Agreement
for the sustainable and efficient plantation of existing indigenous abaca of MICCA in La Paz, Agusan del Sur. The MOA signing was held at the PhilFIDA central office on 10 March 2016.
According to Director Barron, “this development gives realization to the agency’s goal of uplifting the living condition of the farmers through increased farmers’ income from abaca fiber production.”
“We should put up a weaving center so that the farmers would not only learn to extract fiber from abaca but also to weave the fiber into fabric. This would serve as source of additional income for the people,” Barron added.
This project aims to optimize production volume and market prices for abaca fiber within the ancestral domain of MICCA through expansion and creation of higher density abaca plantation that is managed according to sustainable plantation practices. Simultaneous with the harvesting and stripping of matured abaca, farmers shall plant seedlings harvested from their own plantation for continuous abaca cultivation. The parties agreed that PhilFIDA shall provide the technical assistance on abaca fiber production, marketing and processing while the LGU shall help in the plantation management, harvesting, fiber extraction, grading and classification. Along with PhilFIDA’s technical assistance is the introduction of the technology of mechanized stripping of abaca through the use of FIDA-designed mobile spindle stripping machine which will replace the hand blades being used by the farmers.