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Developing Rural Industries and Village Enterprises (DRIVE), In a Nutshell

When the new administration assumed into office, the new buzz word akin to Pres. Estrada is "Kaunlaran para sa lahat. Mahalaga bawat isa". This was taken as a new economic battlecry meant to accelerate economic and employment growth biased on the poor.

Supportive of this goal, DTI launched the Developing Rural Industries and Village Enterprises (DRIVE) Program. It aims to coordinate a countryside centered, market-driven, agro-industrialisation efforts that will strengthen the domestic base to maintain industry’s global competitiveness, and at the same time create more opportunities for both small annd medium entrepreneurs, especially in the countryside.

The emphasis of the program is to encourage and develop entrepreneurs through various identified interventions depending on the specific needs of the area. Rural industries and village enterprises will be linked to large and long-term projects to effect full economies of scale.

Project History

  • Prior to the DRIVE Program launching in Cebu, the DTI-Cebu Provincial Office, taking the hint of the Department’s new mandate under a new president and the leadership of a new secretary that is commited to countryside economic development with preferential option for the poor, initiated the project by touching base with Representative Joseph Felix Mari "Ace" Durano.

  • A major collaborative agreement was realised since DTI’s DRIVE comes in consonance with Representative Durano’s centerpiece commitment to his constituents which is the Barangay Comprehensive Development (BACOD) Program.

  • With a private-sector led project in mind, DTI-Cebu and the Office of Rep. Durano tapped an NGO, the Cebu Industrial Builders Multi-purpose Cooperative to look for the viability of developing the essential oil industry in Sogod’s largest barangay. The project, when found out to be technically feasible was immediately pursued.

  • To assure the finished products’ marketability, again DTI-Cebu tapped the largest single consumer of Citronella oil in Cebu, the International Pharmaceuticals, Inc., under the Small Brother-Big Brother concept. Hence the realisation of the project under a multi-party agreement.

This project is not new to DTI-Cebu. In 1989, one of its staff, designed two extractors for Tuburan Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Boljoon Farmers Association. This pilot project was made under the auspices of the then newly started DTI-CARP Program. The extractors that are still existing today are too conventional that they make use of firewood as fuel to propel the equipment. Oil recovery is only less than a liter per 100-150 kilos of citronella grass. Extraction time takes about four hours. The project despite its infancy however, were deemed viable. It benefitted approximately 600 farmers from the two pilot areas.

With its initial success, DTI realised the industry’s readiness to take the challenge of producing citronella oil to supply the industry requirement. It collaborated with the DOST in a MOA asking the latter to fabricate 11 citronella oil extractors intended for farmer-beneficiaries under the CARP. DOST however, due to lack of manpower complement and some faults in the design, decided to waived its commiitment in the moa. The growth of the industry at that point stagnated, for while the needs of the local manufacturers alone keep on increasing, local suppliers are not even capable of satisfying 20 % of the requirements of a single manufacturer.

In 1993, DTI-Cebu contracted a fabricator from Nagcarlan, Laguna to design a more improved oil extractor. The extractor was again given to Tuburan MPC. It is capable of producing 1 liter of oil from 100 to 150 kilos of citronella. Processing time per load is 3 to 4 hours.

The high efficiency ratio of the Laguna prototype is the basis of the Cebu Industrial Builders MPC in designing their own prototype for the Cabalawan Extraction Project. It however modified some features to shorten the processing period from the usual 4 hours to about 1 ½ hours. Oil quality and production efficiency were also improved. This extractor now uses Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) instead of the conventional firewood.

Presently, the existing demand for citronella oil in Cebu is estimated at 3,000 to 4,000 liters per month. The total available local supply as produced by Tuburan and Boljoon is only about 300 liters. The rest of the industry’s requirements are sourced out from imports. International Pharmaceuticals accounts to approximately 2,000 liters of cebu’s demand for essential oils.

The Cabalawan Extraction Project intends to benefit about 180 farmers. It will direcly employ more than 20 people and possibly integrate other entrepreneurship or livelihood related projects. A dairy enterprise project for example, is very suitable in the area. This, if realised will enable the extraction project to operate using the biogas technology as its power source.

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