Agricultural Process and Technology


The process of preparing abaca fiber involves four (4) major phases: Harvesting of Stalks, Extraction of Fiber, Drying, and Grading and Baling.

1. Harvesting of Stalks- 1a. Cleaning- 1b. Topping- 1c. Tumbling- 1d. Tuxying2. Extraction of Fiber3. Drying4. Grading and Baling

The abaca propagates itself through suckering, or the growing of shoots from the roots.  When all the leaves have been formed from the stem, flower buds develop, at which time the plant has reached maturity and is then ready for harvest.

In a fully developed plantation where there are suckers that mature in rapid succession, harvesting is done as often as possible. The initial harvest of the abaca plant is done within 18 to 24 months from planting.

There are four (4) stages in the harvesting process: Cleaning, Topping, Tumbling, and Tuxying.

The area surrounding the base of the stalk is cleared of dried leaves, grasses, and other weeds in order to ensure that the abaca plant remains healthy and viable.
With the use of a sharp, curved knife fastened at the tip of a long pole, the leaves of the stalk are cut.  Topping eases harvesting and minimizes the damage on other plants.
Tumbling of stalks is accomplished with the use of a sharp bolo.  After tumbling, all cut stalks are piled together in a convenient place where tuxying is to be done.


Tuxying is the process of separating the outer layer from the inner layer of the stalk.  It is done by inserting a tuxy knife between the layers and then flipping with a vigorous jerk to completely separate the outer layer.  The outer layer is pried loose and discarded and the next leafsheath then becomes ready for tuxying.

The different groups of tuxies produce distinct grades of fiber.  The outermost leafsheaths exhibit brown portions.  The middle layers carry tinges of light green or streaks of purple.  The inner layers are ivory to white in color.


The most prevalent methods of abaca fiber extraction in the Philippines are the Hand Stripping (Hand-hagotan) and the Machine Stripping (Spindle).

Hand Stripping is a fully manual process of extracting fiber which uses a device made up of a movable knife, a knife rest or base, and a weight to keep the movable portion firmly in position as stripping is performed.  In this method, the tuxies or leafsheath splits are inserted between a block and the stripping knife which can be either serrated or non-serrated.  The foot pedal is then released to clamp the tuxy firmly into place.  The stripper then pulls the tuxy away from the knife with full force, both hands clasping the tuxy wound around a wooden pulling aid.

Machine Stripping, on the other hand, is a semi-mechanized improvement on the Hand Stripping process.  The tuxy is wound around a tapered-shaped spindle which is kept in motion by an electric motor.The speed at which the spindle draws the fiber over the knife depends on its position.  By using this method, a stripper can process many leafsheaths in a short amount of time and, with the proper kind of knife, produce fibers of uniform grades.

Once the entire length of the tuxy is stripped, the fibers are then brought to an open area for drying.  All stripped fibers are either sun-dried in the open or air-dried in shaded structures before they are stored.
Once dried, the abaca fiber is classified in accordance with government and international standards.  After classification, the abaca is then baled by means of pressing machines.  The standard bale of abaca fiber is equivalent to 125 kilograms and measures around 100 cm. x 55 cm. 60 cm.