ANAO, Tarlac: The municipal government here is eyeing a global market for its ylang-ylang essential oil.
In Anao’s official website, town council secretary and coordinator of the ylang-ylang livelihood project Maria Rosette Bagayas said Mayor Betty Lacbayanis plans to put up machines in remote villages as satellite extractors to immediately process the flowers right after they are picked as ylang-ylang flowers are quick to wilt.
“Our vision is for Anao to produce ylang-ylang essential oil for the world. We want to export,” according to Bagayas.
“We have been receiving inquiries from abroad. Our problem is, we cannot meet the demand [yet],” she said.
The town now has two machines, each capable of extracting oil from 50 kilos of ylang-ylang flowers.
Three smaller extractors from the Korean Intellectual Property Office in South Korea will be delivered to the town to improve its capacity, Bagayas said.
Extraction is at its peak when ylang-ylang flowers are in season from March to May.
The local government buys flowers from residents at P60 a kilo.
An ylang-ylang tree produces an average of three kilos of flowers a week.
During peak months, extraction is done three times a week, with the rest of the week designated as buying days.
Anao, an agricultural town in the eastern part of the province, has been producing and selling essential oil extracted from ylang-ylang flowers since 1994.
The oil is used in the manufacture of perfume, bath soap, lotion and shampoo.
The town used to produce 36 liters of the oil a year and hopes to double the production with an upgrade of extractors, Bagayas says.
The ylang-ylang industry faces challenges right now.
Among these is the construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) for which about 30 percent of the 10,000 fully grown ylang-ylang trees had to give way.
TPLEx will hit the town’s 1.7-hectare ylang-ylang mini-forest in Barangay San Francisco West.
Another challenge is the slow improvement in the industry that has not moved far, business-wise.
“This is just a micro [industry]and our production is manual. The Department of Trade and Industry is helping us acquire a mixer for the perfume, and printing and filling machines to mechanize operations,” Bagayas said.
“Manually, we have limited production. On the average, in an eight-hour work day, we produce about 300 60-milligram bottles of perfume,” she added.
The local government decided to use the essential oil in producing its own brand of perfume, “Aroma Anao,” which is sold in the town’s display center and in trade fairs in the Central Luzon region.
In the past, other products such as bath soap, hair conditioner and lotion were produced using ylang-ylang oil and made by manufacturers outside the town.
“Because we have no chemists, we just supplied essential oil to manufacturers. Then they returned them to us as finished products,” Bagayas said.
Two years ago, the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech) started working with other government facilities to help Anao improve its ylang-ylang essential oil production and turn it into a more profitable venture.
Philmech assistant director Raul Paz said they need help– from gathering of flowers to extraction to marketing.