Abaca. The first harvest of abaca starts 18 to 20 months after initial planting. When the flower begin to appear the stalks are ready for harvesting. Mature abaca consist of of a group or cluster of 12 to 30 or more stalks. Cutting is done 6 to 8cm from the root crown.
The stalks undergo the following processes in extracting the abaca fibers.
1. Piling. the harvested stalks are piled in a convenient place where they can be immediately splitted into tuxies.
2. Striping. this can be done either by hand or by machine.
3. Drying. Fibers can either be sun-dried or air-dried in a shaded area free from other foreign particles.
4. Grading and storing. The fiber are grouped and tied according to their class and stored in a safe place or processed into rope or any finished product.