The cultivation of abaca, one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, has provided a significant increase in the monthly earnings of native communities in the south of Costa Rica – many of which were formerly devoted to plantain production. The Abaca Project is nourishing these communities’ entrepreneurial spirit and will to grow.
Abaca is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the musaceae family. The plant, which has a lifespan of 15+ years, produces a water-resistant fiber that is considered to be one of the strongest natural fibers in the world.
Due to its unique characteristics, the abaca fiber is used to make products as varied as tea bags, security paper for bills, diapers, machinery filters, hospital textiles, electric cables, ropes, and fishing nets.
The Philippines provides most of the world’s abaca (87.4% in 2014), followed by Ecuador and Costa Rica. But the demand is still greater than the supply.
In 2016 the NGO Dejando Huella started an ambitious project of agricultural diversification in remote rural areas of Costa Rica in order to improve the life of the country’s native communities. These communities started planting abaca, which is currently in high global demand. The project resulted in a significant increase of the financial income of 130 native families.
“OMINA, leader in the region of projects that promote an economy of wellbeing; welcomed, aligned and positioned the Abaca Project to get the ideal support for it to strengthen. Encouragement, sensibility, intelligence and a serious commitment has been what the Abaca Project has been receiving from OMINA, and this has definitely been the key to the success of the project.”
Kate Sibaja, President, Dejando Huella