Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plans (ISPs) Platform

Abaca Industry Profile

Abaca, also known as Manila Hemp with the scientific name Musa textilis, is a natural leaf fiber species of banana grown as a commercial crop native in the country. Its leaf stems are harvested for its natural fiber that possesses valuable properties such as buoyancy, high porosity, high tensile and folding strength, and resistance to saltwater damage. According to Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Philippines, as the world’s top exporter of abaca, supplies 85 percent of the global abaca fiber production and earns US$80 million per year. Based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as of 2019, Bicol Region remained the top abaca producer with 28.94 thousand metric tons or 40.1 percent contribution to the total abaca production, followed by Eastern Visayas and Davao Region with 17.5 percent and 12.5 percent shares, respectively. Bicol Region also had the largest area planted for abaca, with 43.16 thousand hectares in 2019. With its durability, flexibility, and resistance to saltwater damage, it is commonly used in fishing lines and nets, ropes, and twines. Other applications of abaca involve its use as a material in manufacturing bags, carpets, diapers, pill coatings, textile, and surgical masks.

Problems in the Industry

One of the most significant problems that the abaca industry faces is natural calamities. These calamities, such as typhoons, cause an increase in the production cost, thereby increasing the final products’ price. The prevalence of pests and diseases is also a common concern in the industry resulting in low fiber yield and poor fiber quality. 

Other constraints include the following: 

  • Limited supply of quality abaca planting materials; 
  • Lack of high yielding and virus-resistant planting materials; 
  • Poor technology adoption of farmers; 
  • General lack of facilities for transport and drying; 
  • Insufficient support in product marketing and promotion; and 
  • Lack of financial capability of abaca farmers.

Data Source: Philippine Statistics Authority. 1990-2022.


  • Volume of production of abaca in metric tons (MT)
  • Area of production of abaca in hectares (ha)
  • Yield of abaca production in metric tons (MT)
  • Value of Production at Current Prices in Million PhP
  • Value of Production at Constant 2018 Prices in Million PhP
  • Gross Value Added at Constant 2018 Prices in Million PhP


  • Gross Value Added at Current Prices in Million PhP
  • Gross Supply of abaca in metric tons
  • Farmgate price of Abaca in Pesos per kilogram
  • Wholesale Price of Abaca in Pesos per kilogram
  • Import value of abaca in thousand metric tons

ISP for Abaca

The ISP  for abaca aims to improve and aid in sustaining the country’s stand as the world’s leading producer of abaca through varietal improvement, pest and disease management, and product development and value addition to increase farm productivity, thereby increasing the farmers’ income.

Strategic R&D

Strategic R&D is DOST-PCAARRD’s banner program comprising all R&D activities that are intended to
generate outputs geared towards maximum economic and social benefits

Abaca Functional Genomics

As the world’s top exporter of abaca, the Philippines earns around US$80 million annually. Although the country maintains its lead...

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Products, equipment, and protocols or process innovations developed to improve productivity, efficiency,
quality, and profitability in the agriculture and aquatic industries, and to achieve sustainable
utilization and management of natural resources

Abaca stripping machines

With the abaca stripping machine, four persons can harvest one hectare of abaca plantation in 7-8 days. It weighs only 93 kg and can be dismantled and carried in areas...

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Technology Transfer Initiatives

Technology transfer initiatives ensure that the outputs of R&D and innovations are transformed
into viable and applicable technologies that help intended users

Capacity Building

Capacity building efforts of DOST-PCAARRD seek to develop and enhance the R&D capabilities of researchers
and academic or research institutions through graduate assistantships & non-degree trainings
and development and/or upgrading of research facilities

Infrastructure Development

Manpower Development

Policy Research & Advocacy

Analysis of policy concerns and advocacy of science-informed policies ensures that the AANR policy environment is conducive for S&T development and investments

Competitiveness of Philippine Abaca Industry under the ASEAN Economic Community

Abaca production in the Philippines was competitive under export trade and import substitution scenarios. Exporting abaca is an excellent opportunity for the country to earn foreign exchange since the Philippines can compete globally. To sustain the country’s competitiveness in abaca, yield (22.56 mt/ha) must not decline by 82 percent, or domestic cost must not increase by 104 percent.


Lapiña, G. F. and Andal, E. T. (2017). ASEAN Economic Community: Opportunities and Challenges for the Crops Sector. Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines: Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources