Kalibo, Aklan -- The Aklan Piña & Fiber Festival is getting better and better through the years, according to buyers who regularly come to Aklan to witness the event.
This is one of the feedbacks received by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the recent trade event in Aklan, held simultaneously with the province's week-long celebration of its separation from Capiz.
Aklan became a separate province 54 years ago on April 25, 1956.
Now on its 11th year, the Piña & Fiber Festival had a lot of improvements and a lot of much better things seen by the visitors, according to Engr. Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr., DTI-Aklan Provincial Director.
"There are new designs, there are new products, and higher sales in the recent Fiber Festival", Director Cadena said.
Cadena said that this year, the festival exceeded its target sales of P6+ million.
"Our figure is not yet complete, but as of Tuesday, April 27, closing of the festival, there is already around P6.3 million in sales,' he said.
The sales were generated through booked orders and cash sales. The reported festival sales include only those transacted inside the trade hall. Cadena said that if the sales report of the garden, the OTOP booths of the LGUs and other booths get included, the total and final sales will be bigger.
The bulk of booked orders came from twelve buyers who came to the festival, worth almost P4 million. Getting most booked orders were Piña Fiber producers, furnitures and furnishing sector, crafts and gift items and the Fruit of Life, selling coconut-based products.
Meanwhile, Director Cadena said the hot weather condition or El Niño which could affect the supply of raw materials for Aklan's unique products made of Piña and abaca cloth and nito is not yet felt by Aklanon producers.
"Even then, this potential problem is being addressed already. Realizing not only the effect of El Niño but Typhoon Frank on abaca, the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) has already conducted a forum among farmer-growers, traders and manufacturers to ensure the source of raw materials," Cadena said.
Cadena said it takes 3 years for an abaca plant to produce quality fiber. (PIA/Venus G. Villanueva)