LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment in Bicol (DOLE-5) through its Camarines Norte Provincial Office has awarded a livelihood enhancement project to citronella growers in the province to further improve their lives.

Johana Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview on Tuesday, said the Kooperatiba ng Maliit na mga Magniniyog ng Barangay Kanapawan (KMMBK) received on Monday PHP398,741 for the project Productivity Enhancement on Aromatic Citronella Extract (PEACE).

The amount will be used to purchase tools, equipment, and materials used in the processing of citronella oil and its by-products.

"KMMBK is one of the sustainable livelihood framework groups assisted by the Department to which the office has granted an oil extracting machine for their Citronella Oil venture in 2014. Project PEACE is a pro-active approach by the agency to scale up their production and sales which proved to be truly advantageous to its 50 direct beneficiaries," Gasga said.

She said the enhancement project will fund the purchase of additional equipment to expedite the production process without compromising the quality.

"Some of the products of the growers were citronella oil, citronella soap, citronella insect repellant lotion, and citronella massage oil. Sales are expected to increase as the market for the said products continue to grow," Gasga said.

“Sana po mas makatulong pa ang pondong ito sa mga members ng cooperative at mapalago pa lalo ang inyong negosyo para makapagbigay ng trabaho at dagdag income sa mga member-beneficiaries (I hope this fund will help the members of the cooperative and grow your business even more to provide jobs and additional income to the member-beneficiaries)," said Cherry Mosatalla, Camarines Norte Field Office head, during the awarding on Monday.

DOLE-5 Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita, in a statement, said with this kind of perseverance and commitment shown by the beneficiaries to sustain their livelihoods, the government is more grateful for the success of each member of the group and they indeed deserve the livelihood enhancement package from DOLE. (PNA)