Global abaca fiber market size is projected to witness a strong upsurge over 2021-2027, given the accelerating adoption of abaca-reinforced hybrid materials due to their sustainable nature and their subsequent applications across construction, automobile, and other end-use industries worldwide. This increased potential for industrial & technological applications can be attributed to a broad range of abaca fiber benefits including high mechanical strength, flexibility, durability, buoyancy, and long fiber length.
Abaca, also known as Manila hemp, is a vegetable leaf fiber extracted from the plant leaf stalks. The product has been gaining widespread adoption due to its high strength, low elongation, and resistance to saltwater decomposition as compared to sisal fibers, vegetable fibers, as well as synthetic fibers. In addition, it is well suited as a raw material in processing high-quality papers, napkins, diapers, medical textiles, machinery filters, electrical conduction cables, and other finished products., driving abaca fiber market forecast.
Mounting abaca fiber extraction projects to meet the growing demand for environment-friendly material, coupled with the rising product exports for use in manufacturing specialty papers including currency notes and cigarette filter papers in various regions including Japan, are the key trends proliferating the overall abaca fiber market outlook. In 2021, the PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) Region VIII partnered with the PhilFIDA (Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority) and LGUs (local government units) to introduce the abaca-coconut intercropping project with an aim to ensure sustained growth and increase the income of farmers by intercropping abaca.
Considering the application spectrum, the cordage segment is likely to account for a prominent abaca fiber market share by 2027, on account of the extensive usage of abaca fiber products in making Manila ropes for rigging ships owing to their high mechanical strength, versatility, and resistance to damage caused by saltwater. Over the past years, farmers, cattleman, and sailors have also been adopting this type of rope for fastening, securing, and hauling various furniture and equipment.
On the regional front, the North America will depict a notable growth rate through 2027. This is attributable to the escalating production of papers & paperboards and the increasing rate of commercial and recreational fishing activities, particularly in the United States. According to reliable statistics from a 2019 Fisheries of the United States report, the regional commercial fishermen landed 9.3 billion pounds of marine resources at $5.5 billion, while the recreational angles took above 187 million trips in 2019, thus boosting the adoption of abaca fiber products for developing fishing ropes and other specialty materials.
The competitive landscape of the global abaca fiber industry consists of prominent firms including Italfil Expo Bags Co., Ltd., Yzen Handicraft Export Trading, Selinrail International Trading, Fiber World, MAP Enterprises, Tag Fibers, Inc., and Ching Bee Trading Corporation, among others. These market players are focusing on business expansions, M&A, and innovative product launches to boost their geographical presence and product portfolio.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, abaca farmers across the globe have been encountering challenges due to the disruptions in raw material supplies as well as the implementation of lockdown and other restrictions to curb the virus spread. As per the PhilFIDA, the abaca production witnessed a 25% decline in the first half of 2020, which has created roadblocks to the global abaca fiber industry demand in recent times.
However, escalating deployment of biodegradable abaca in medical supplies such as face masks and PPEs, especially for COVID-19 protection, may help the industry regain traction over the forthcoming years. For example, the Philippine DOST (Department of Science & Technology) approved a Philippine Abaca-based face mask manufactured by Salay Handmade Products Industries in Misamis Oriental, Mindanao, due to its proven strength as compared to the ordinary cloth face masks.