Virac, Catanduanes – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has allocated a total of P4,484,956 for the local government of Catanduanes to support six (6) abaca farmers’ associations in the province of Catanduanes.

The funds will be used to purchase abaca stripping machines and other equipment that will be distributed to the associations. Among these associations are the Sto. Niño Abaca Farmers Association (Virac), Genitligan Abaca Farmers Association (Baras), Bayanihan Abaca Farmers Association (Caramoran), Salvacion Abaca Farmers Association (Bagamanoc), San Miguel Abaca Farmers and Traders Association (Panganiban), and SLP Tariwara Agricultural Farmers Livelihood Association (Pandan).

This project is part of the “Provision of Mechanized and Modified Stripping Machines and other Paraphernalia for the Enhancement of Abaca Fiber Production,” which is a component of the Dole Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP).

The objective of this project is to modernize the abaca industry in Catanduanes and produce world-class fiber, which will enhance both production and the quality of its by-products.

This initiative was led by DOLE Bicol Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita, who visited the province last May. The official committed to providing livelihood assistance to the abaca industry in the province and helping abacaleros (abaca farmers) overcome the challenges they face, particularly the fluctuation in prices, which significantly affects their livelihoods.

According to the Provincial Government of Catanduanes, the distribution of abaca stripping machines and other equipment will coincide with the celebration of Catanduanes’ Founding Anniversary in October 2023.