TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority 8 (PhilFIDA-8) here in the region is set to provide abaca plantlets and farming tools to support the needs of the abaca farmers recover from losses they sustained due to devastation caused by supertyphoon Yolanda. Aside from mainly helping the affected abaca farmers, the intervention by their office would help revive the industry itself, said Joseph Salas, officer-in-charge for technical assistance unit of PhilFIDA-8. The farming tools to be distributed to the abaca farmers will include sharp bolo, shovels and hoes. “Farmers are motivated to work when there are materials on hand and when they know that the government is ready to help and support them. We will procure these tools for them to push forward and go back to farming and plant more,” Salas said. PhilFIDA has allocated ten sets of farming tools for each municipality identified under the project that includes the city of Ormoc and the towns of Albuera, Kananga, Burauen, Hindang, Hilongos, Javier, Abuyog, and Inopacan in Leyte; Bontoc and St. Bernard in Southern Leyte; Victoria and Lavesarez in Northern Samar; and Dolores in Eastern Samar. Moreover, PhilFIDA already distributed a total of 14,805 tissue cultured abaca plantlets in 14 municipalities in the region as part of its rehabilitation activities. The said plantlets were released to the Eastern Visayas Fiber Regional Experiment Station and Seed Bank (EVERFESS) in Abuyog, Leyte. The cultured abaca plantlets or young plants were distributed to Bontoc, Southern Leyte; Abuyog, Jaro and MacArthur, Leyte; Marabut, Samar; Calbayog City and, Almeria, Biliran. Farmers were also provided with training by the PhilFIDA under the said project. Aside from distributing of farming tools, plantlets and providing trainings for farmers, PhilFIDA also continue to implement the Abaca Expansion Project to rehabilitate and restore nurseries for new abacas and provide technical assistance to farmers in establishing plant sale outlets. Eastern Visayas is considered as a major abaca-producing region in the country but its production decreased due to the incidence of pests and diseases and natural calamities like Yolanda. (JEFFREY DADO CONSULTADO, LNU Intern)