Abaca (Musa textiles Nee), also known as Manila hemp, is used for the manufacture of specialty papers for tea bags, sausage casings, cigarette papers, currency notes and security papers, plug wrap filters, among others. Specialty papers account for more than 80% of the global consumption. The country supplies more than half of the world's demand for abaca.
Abaca fabrics have gained popularity abroad as a packaging material. The growing concern for environmental protection and forest conservation the world over has provided more opportunities for natural fiber like abaca. It is expected that demand would be long-term due to the growing popularity of environment-friendly materials, especially in developed countries. According to FIDA, the most important factor in the industry's development is the European market, which buys more than half of the country's exports.
Uses of Abaca:
1. Cordage industry: ropes, twines, marine cordage, binders, cords
Abaca cordage is highly preferred in old dredging/exploration, navies and merchant shipping, as well as in the construction business, because of its non-slippage characteristics.
2. Pulp and paper manufacturing: tea bags filter paper, mimeograph, stencil, base tissue, sausage casing, cigarette paper, currency paper, chart, file folders, envelopes, time cards, book binders, parchment paper
3. Construction: roofing tiles, floor tiles, hollow blocks, boards, reinforcing concrete, asphalt
4. Fibercraft: handbags, hammocks, placemats, sinamat, rugs, carpets, purses and wallets, fishnets, doormats, sacks, hotpads, hemp coasters
5. Handmade paper: paper sheets, stationeries, all-purpose cards, including lampshades, balls, dividers, placemats, bags, picture frames, albums, flowers, table clock, etc.
6. Haute couture: vests, gowns, skirts, trousers, hats
7. Home furnishings: seat covers, throw pillow covers, etc
8. Other non-traditional products: microglass air filters media. X-ray negative, optical lens wiper, medical gas mask and gown, diapers, hospital linen, bed sheet, vacuum filter, oil filter, wire insulator and cable
9. Other uses: wall paper, wall cover, baskets
Source: FOOD AND AGRI BUSINESS YEARBOOK AND DIRECTORY
Mario D. Camacho
C2000 University of Asia and the Pacific
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