Life Cycle Assessment of Manila Hemp in Catanduanes, Philippines

Carlos V. Cortez, Jr., Antonio J. Alcantara, Enrique P. Pacardo, Carmelita M. Rebancos
Vol 18 No 2 (2015), pp.




Environmental burdens of one ton baled abaca fiber, which is exported as Manila hemp, were determined using life cycle assessment with three phases: plantation establishment and fiber harvesting, fiber trading, and grading and baling of fiber.

Abaca fiber was organically produced in Catanduanes. One hectare abaca plantation produced an average of 830 kg fiber with a total mean discarded biomass of 5.7 t. A barangay trader can purchased 712 kg of dry fiber per week while Grading and Baling Establishment (GBE) procured and processed 250 t mo-1.

One ton of baled fiber required 1.6 ha plantation with 2,132 undamaged abaca hills that produced 1,052.6 kg dry abaca fiber. Harvesting produced about 80.2 t of discarded materials and weeds which used as mulch, however, estimated soil nutrient loss was 0.5 kg N and 0.1 kg P and 5.4 kg K. Trading and baling produced 52.6 kg fiber by-product used for furniture making; more than 5 kg of fiber dust and a total global warming potential of 47.7 kg CO2 equivalent.

The following are recommended to improve farm productivity: a) use of organic fertilizer to replace the nutrient loss; b) improve stripping device to enhance fiber quality; and c) utilize farm waste for soil conservation. Local policy on abaca trading was recommended to increase farmer’s share. GBE must provide mechanism to improve environmental work condition and strictly enforce the use of ear plug to avoid hearing loss of workers.


Keywords: environmental and social life cycle assessment, baled abaca fibers, local fiber trading, abaca fiber production

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