Brighter days may be up ahead for the country’s abaca industry.
Researchers at the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) have recently found that the “bandala” abaca hybrid yields high quality fiber that makes it a promising material for pulp and paper.
The physical properties of abaca hybrid paper samples were comparable to those of commercial abaca.
Bandala is the result of more than 60 years of work by scientists, mostly from the Institute of Plant Breeding-University of the Philippines Los Baños. Local scientists have spent hundreds of hours in laboratories trying to come up with the kind of plant that would meet the needs of local abaca farmers and adapt to changing environmental conditions.
As a result of breeding the right types of abaca and banana, the bandala has acquired the traits of the ideal hybrid. It is high-yielding, drought-tolerant and able to withstand the attack of the abaca bunchy-top virus.
Abaca, which is known as the world’s strongest natural fiber, is native to the Philippines. – Press release