Photo shows farmers (middle) with DOST Bukidnon Provincial Director Ritchie Mae Guno (left) and Malitbog Mayor Osmundo dela Rosa (second from right) during the project fund turnover last Nov. 8, 2021 at the Malitbog Municipal Hall. (Photo courtesy of DOST 10

MANILA – More or less 250 Higaunon farmers in Bukidnon will benefit from the establishment of a citronella facility, an executive of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 10 said Wednesday.

"This is the first time that they will have a processing facility. Target to start the establishment is by the third quarter of 2022," DOST Bukidnon Provincial Director Ritchie Mae Guno told the Philippine News Agency.

She said the DOST has provided PHP600,000 funding for this, through the agency's Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program.

The farmers from Sitio Impahanong, Barangay San Luis in Malitbog, Bukidnon are expected to earn PHP583,000 in the first year of full operation of processing pure citronella oil.

According to DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, the hydro steam distillation technology that will be acquired for citronella processing will enable the farmers to earn from the citronella grass in their 10-hectare area.

The project is in partnership with the local government of Malitbog, and the fund was already turned over to them last November 8.

"The intervention will also be supplemented with product development, business and organizational management and market matching opportunities to fully capacitate the indigenous people community," de la Peña said.

The project is envisioned to provide economic activity to all residents in the area thus improving their socio-economic status, he added. (PNA)