Abaca exporter Newtech Pulp Inc. will buy abaca fiber from three forest communities in Lake Lanao in the linking efforts led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Abaca plantation in Lake Lanao watershed

The people’s organizations are Sunrise Producer Association, Wato Balindong Farmers Cooperative, and Sania Farmers Association based in Piagapo, Balindong, and Maguing, respectively.

They are now partners of abaca pulp manufacturer Newtech Pulp for the supply of abaca fiber. Newtech Pulp has a manufacturing plant in Maria Cristina Balo, Lanao del Norte.

Newtech Pulp has been sourcing abaca fiber from an estimated 200 hectares of abaca plantation that are under DENR’s Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP).

“These POs used to harvest rice and other crops like abaca, and banana just once a year. Their production in abaca is being sustained because they are now supplying directly to Newtech Pulp Inc,” said Samsodin Taha, operations manager at INREMP’s Lake Lanao River Basin (LLRB).

Located within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), LLRB is the largest lake in Mindanao. It is also known to be one of 15 ancient lakes of the world.

INREMP, which is jointly funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Philippine government, has integrated a Maranao Ethnic Development Plan in its natural resources program in LLRB. However, due to pervasive poverty, some residents in the areas have resorted to illegal resource extraction and conversion of forests into farm lands.

This is why DENR has carried out extensive natural resource management (NRM) in LLRB. As of the end of May, NRM includes the reforestation area of 145 hectares and agroforestry area of 1,300 hectares.

Moving forward, DENR is looking at a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR-LDS), Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE-LDS), and Department of Agriculture (DA) for a future expansion of the abaca plantation.

If these three agencies will infuse investment into the abaca project, the LLRB abaca area can expand by three times more in the future, Taha said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/09/21/newtech-pulp-to-buy-abaca-fiber-from-forest-communities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=newtech-pulp-to-buy-abaca-fiber-from-forest-communities)