Manila, Oct. 23 -- At least 20 hectares of farms in Eastern Visayas have been identified as pilot areas for the planting of abaca under coconut trees, the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) announced on Friday.

PhilFIDA regional director Wilardo Sinahon said this is the first formal attempt to promote the cultivation of abaca under coconut trees in farms closer to communities.

The project initially identified farms in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Abuyog, Leyte; Catubig, Northern Samar; and Macarthur, Leyte for its pilot phase. The agency is focusing on four towns due to budget constraints.

"We have seen some farms where coconut and abaca grow together, but these are located in upland and far-flung areas. Also, ther...