A Japan-funded distillery for lemongrass oil in Negros Occidental was launched in a turnover ceremony on August 8 led by the Embassy of Japan’s First Secretary Kenji Terada and Philippine officials.
The plant is located in Mambugsay, Cauayan, Negros Occidental and was funded in 2013 under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) arm of Japan’s wider Official Development Assistance (ODA) program.
The grant from Japan amounted to $76,722, or about P3 million for the construction and equipment of the eco-friendly distilling plant.
Terada was joined by Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary for the Visayas Hansel Didulo,
Management Committee of Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI) Head Auke Idzenga, and 30 farmer beneficiaries and other guests in the turnover ceremony.
Although Negros is known as the “Sugarbowl of the Philippines,” local farmers in Mambugsay have faced extreme poverty due to their mountainous location, which is unsuitable for sugar production, the Japanese Embassy explained in a statement.
To address the issue, AIDFI promoted lemongrass as an alternative crop, and sought funding assistance through the GGP for the construction of the oil distillation facility, necessary equipment, and a vehicle for the transport of lemongrass.
“It is expected that local farmers will benefit from this project as a source of livelihood in their community as production of lemongrass oil will lead them to more stable income. The increased in income will facilitate the farmers to have a longer term life planning and pay for their family’s education and health care,” the embassy said.
The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. At present, 519 grassroots projects have been implemented by GGP. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also contribute in sustaining strategic partnership between the two countries.
EMBASSY OF JAPAN