DOST-Region X turned over the project to APC and the City Government of Malaybalay (Photo from DOST-Region X)
In collaboration with the City Government of Malaybalay, APC is implementing Project Citro OIL or the Citronella Oil Income Leveraging in Sitio Bendum, Busdi, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon through the provision of Hydro Steam Distillation Technology, under the program Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region X.
For DOST-Region X, this project collaboration with APC and the City Government of Malaybalay intends to benefit indigenous Pulangiyēn, especially the women, in the Upper Pulangi area of Bukidnon, through the provision of livelihood opportunities. In August 2022, DOST-Region X turned over a grant-in-aid fund to the City Government of Malaybalay City for the purchase of the citronella processing equipment that will then be turned over to APC.
Citronella (Cymbopogon confertiflorus) is a cogon grass look-alike that has various industrial uses because of its oil. The oil extracted from citronella is highly valued because it is used in perfumes, mosquito repellants, soaps, spray, disinfectants, paints, and polish. At present, the Philippines still imports citronella oil for industrial use.
APC’s Forest, Farm, Leadership in the Margins (FFLM) unit has planted citronella at the forest margins and as boundaries in the vegetable farms and pathways. With regular rainfall, the citronella can survive in the poor ultramafic soils in Bendum that migrants cultivated post-logging. The landscape suits the growing of citronella and there are now two hectares that will continue to expand. The variety of citronella planted in the area is Java citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt) which is rich in geraniol and citronellol that are commonly used as a mosquito repellant.
APC-FFLM opened the understanding of citronella as an income source to the community youth, especially the indigenous Pulangiyēn, showing them how to plant citronella in areas with the red-clay type of soil not suitable for farming activities.
This article includes excerpts from a related published story in the DOST-Region X website.