Escudero eyes Sorsogon as top abaca producer

Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero is eyeing to make the province one of the top producers of abaca in the region with the inauguration of the new building and facility of the Philippine Fiber Industry and Development Authority or PhilFIDA in the town of Juban recently.

According to Escudero, the state-of-the-art PhilFIDA is expected to help strengthen the study of abaca and reclaim Sorsogon’s position as a top contributor to abaca production.

Aside from the new office building, which was inaugurated recently, the new PhilFIDA complex in Barangay Cogon features the new Sorsogon Tissue Culture Laboratory and the four-hectare abaca nursery farm. PhilFIDA is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“The provincial nursery, more or less four hectares if I am not mistaken, is just in the beginning of its development. We will develop this provincial nursery to maximize its potential. In the end, we want to make it a model and demo farm, particularly for the Provincial Agriculturist Office and also for the seedlings of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office,” Escudero said.

“Minsan, dadalaw pa rin ako rito para makita pa kung ano ‘yung pwede kong magawa para gumanda pa at baka may mapulot akong aral sa inyo na mga eksperto at scientists, at sa inyong Tissue Culture Laboratory,” added the veteran legislator, who is seeking a fresh six-year term in the Senate in the May polls.

PhilFIDA Regional Director Mary Anne Molina explained that tissue culture is a state-of-the art method or technique in producing abaca planting materials because from a single sucker, it could produce more than 1,000 pieces of abaca planting material on a 12-month cycle.

“So the propagation of abaca is easier. It is faster for us to reproduce and there are more benefits. The agency aims to provide technical service such as distributing and propagating plants via the tissue culture method,” she said.

According to PhilFIDA Sorsogon, the new facility in Barangay Cogon will be accessible to all abaca farmers, investors, researchers and even to tourists. In its Facebook post, the agency said the laboratory and the nursery were funded by the provincial government.

Molina said Bicol remains the country’s number one producer of abaca fiber while Sorsogon used to be a top contributor. At present, the province of Catanduanes is the number one producer in the region.

She thanked Escudero and the provincial government for the support in the revival and development of the abaca industry in the province, ushering in a “renewed and stronger relationship between the province and the PhilFIDA.”

Jose Catalla, the chief science research specialist, said: “We see and appreciate the province’s trust and confidence in PhilFIDA. That as a national government agency, we are helping in the development of the province of Sorsogon, especially the abaca industry, and uplift the livelihood of the Sorsoganon abacaneros.”

“We at PhilFIDA will strive hard and give our best efforts and help uplift the lives of the Sorsoganon abacaneros even with our meager resources,” he added.