Production Guide on Abaca, Part 2 Harvesting

Planting Season

Planting abaca at the start of the rainy season is preferable.

Distance of Planting/Population Density

  • 2m x 2m – for ordinary size varieties (2,500 hills/hectare)
  • 2.5 – 3.0m – for big size varieties (1,100 – 1,600 hills/hectare)
  • 1m x 1m – for nursery purposes

Rate of Fertilization

  • 2 bags ammonium sulfate at the time of planting
  • 4 bags ammonium sulfate 8 months after planting
  • 2 bags complete fertilizer 21 months after planting
  • For established plantation, apply complete fertilizer once, before or after the rainy season at the rate of 1/4kg per dump or hill or 12 bags per hectare per year.

Some Major Pests and Their Control

  • Brown aphid directly feeds on abaca plant and acts as vector of bunchy top and mosaic diseases. Spray with appropriate contact and systematic insecticides.
  • Root or Corm Weevil directly feeds on corms. Keep plantation clean and soak abaca seadpieces on recommended insecticide before planting.
  • Slug Caterpillar feeds directly on leaves. Spray with equally effective insecticides.

Some Major Diseases and Their Control

Abaca Mosaic is caused by abaca mosaic potyvirus. This disease causes leaf mottlings found the petiole, pseudostem, flower bracts and fruits including formation of irregular, pale green or yellowish streaks on the leaves extending from the midrib to the leaf margin. Spray insecticides to vectors and infected plants including the surrounding weeds before roguing and burning infested plants.

Abaca Bunchy-top – a persistent type of virus. It causes chlorotic areas on young leaves and the damage is characterized by stunted and bunchy growth of the plant forming a rosette with bladeless leaves. The leaves becomes stiff and brittle, tear along the margin, curls upward and dry up. Spray infected plants with insecticides to kill vectors, roguing and burning of the disease plants.

Bract Mosaic – another viral disease caused by a potyvirus similar to banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV). This disease is characterized by distinctive dark reddish brown mosaic patterns on the bracts of the inflorescence. The symptoms are somewhat similar to those of abaca mosaic diseases (AMD). Infected plant parts are chopped into pieces, sprayed with herbicide and buried.

Maturity and Harvesting

Abaca matures from 18 to 24 months after planting under normal conditions or upon the appearance of the flagleaf. Subsequent harvest is done 3-4 months interval.

Methods of Extraction

Hand Stripping – A process of extracting fiber in which narrow strip of abaca leafsheath (tuxy) is placed under a serrated knife with pressure and extraction done by pulling the leafsheath with hands. Output ranges from 15-25 kg of fiber per man-day.

Spindle-Stripping – A semi-mechanized process of extracting fiber. The tuxy is fed into the stripping knife of the machine and extraction is done by spindle rotated by a motor. Output is between 80-120 kg fiber per man-day.

Decortication – Mechanized process of fiber extraction where leafsheath are scraped by means of revolving wheels with knives.

Official Standard Grades

Hand Cleaned

Normal Grades (Designations – Names)

  • S2 – Streaky Two
  • S3 – Streaky Three
  • I – Current
  • G – Soft Seconds
  • M – Soft Brown
  • JK – Seconds
  • M1 – Medium Brown

Residual Grades (Designations – Names)

  • Y – Damaged
  • OT – String/Tow

Machine Cleaned

Normal Grades (Designations – Names)

  • S-S2 – Streaky Two
  • S-S3 – Streaky Three
  • S-I – Current
  • S-G – Soft Seconds
  • S-H – Soft Brown
  • S-JK – Seconds
  • S-M1 – Medium Brown

Residual Grades (Designations – Names)

  • S-Y – Damaged
  • S-OT – String/Tow

For more information, contact:

Fiber Industry Development Authority
1424 Asiatrust Bank Annex Bldg, Quezon Ave., Quezon City
Phones: (02) 373-7489/9241
Email: [email protected]



  1. By Emmeline Velos


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