Ilang-Ilang : Tarlac Town Harvests Sweet Success
The Ilang-ilang Livehood Program has made life better for residents of this once sleepy town.
The scent of ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata) has made life sweeter – literally and figuratively – for the townspeople of Anao in Tarlac. And the fragrance of their success can diffuse and be enjoyed by many other municipalities across the country.
According to Pedrito Q. Lontok, a researcher of DOST’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) and a new graduate in MS Community Development from UP Los Banos, the residents of Anao themselves say their lives have made a turn for the better – thanks to the town’s Ilang-ilang Livelihood Program.
The smallest municipality of Tarlac, Anao is home to 10,000 ilang-ilang trees planted in 2,500 hectares of public and private lands. Here, the ilang-ilang essential oil business is everybody’s business.
The local government unit (LGU) thought of the idea in 1989, donated plantation lands, and recruited help from various groups who gave technical and logistical support.
The people – including many schoolchildren – planted and cared for the trees, harvested the flowers and sold them to the LGU which runs the essential oil extraction and distillation technology (EOEDT), a machine developed by the FPRDI using an old design. The LGU, in turn, sells the oil to clients in Manila who use it in the booming aromatherapy and personal care products industries.
The EOEDT’s upgraded design in 2004 increased the LGU’s net profit by Php 1,300 per batch of flowers processed. It improved oil quality and yield, reduced the machine’s fuel and water consumption and made the loading of flowers easier and safer.
The facility cost a total of Php 437,000 (for building, equipment and working capital) and can extract as much as 1.62 liters of oil per day. Depending on the grade, a liter sells from Php 5,000 to 10,000 each.
The oil’s quality had passed the standards set by the Plant Resources of Southeast Asia (PROSEA) and the Netherlands’ Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries.
As part of his MS thesis, Lontok surveyed how Anao folks see the EODT. He asked 78- residents from two barangays to rate four aspects of the technology to check if, from their point-of-view, it really helps develop their community.
Reports Lontok, “In general, the people see that the EOEDT brings them a wide range of benefits – it uses local skills and raw materials, is eco-friendly, gives them equal opportunity to earn added income, promotes unity among them, and pushes their LGU to partner with relevant donor groups.”
Says FPRDI Officer-in-Charge Felix B. Tamolang, “These findings validate the three prestigious awards Anao received from different organizations in recent years – two of which were for environmental protection and one for sustainable livelihood.
“Although far from perfect, the ilang-ilang project has made Anao one inspiring, municipality. It has been blest with a strong team of leaders, residents and supporters who have succeeded in putting their hearts and hands together to maximize the resources of the land. The exciting thing is, this small town’s success can be replicated in other towns across the country, especially where other essential oil-producing plants – such as sampaguita, citronella, lemon grass and patchouli – grow.”
The FPRDI EOEDT was developed by the R&D team of Engr. Belen. B. Bisana. Interesfed parties may contact FPRDI OIC Felix B. Tamolang at fprdi Ca)laguna.net; tel. no. (049) 536-2377/2586; telefax (049) 536-3630.
FPRDI is located at Narra Road, UPLB Forestry Campus, College, Laguna.
By : Rizalina K. Araral