Perched atop the mountainous area of Central Negros Occidental, the town of Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) is the province’ summer capital.
It is a tourist destination and a favourite weekend get-away with its rich lush green trees lining-up the winding road leading to the municipality. It’s about a 45-minute ride from the province's capital - Bacolod City.
The town is also home to some 200 hectares sprawling pineapple farmland which is the main source of livelihood of more than a hundred families. Pineapple from the town is popular for its delectable taste.
The pandemic has disrupted the marketing of the fruit to its regular clients, primarily Cebu and other neighbouring Visayan Islands, according to DSB Mayor Marxlen Laurence De la Cruz.
Thanks to the foreign and local power institutions that bonded to provide an alternative source of income aside from the fruits. The value added product comes from its leaves.
Barangay Bago is a recipient of a fiber processing facility that will turn pineapple leaves into a clothing raw material. Pina fiber commands a good price locally and is also a potential export product.
It is projected to give an income of 20% to the more than 127 pineapple farming households who are members of the Bago Integrated Solar Farmers Association (BISFA) as direct beneficiaries
The P3.5 million project components include a solar-powered decorticating machine, 4kw PV system and a building donated by the Team Energy Foundation Inc. (TEFI) co- implemented by the European Union- Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP), Department of Energy (DOE), Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and the local government of unit of DSB.
In a recent turn-over ceremony, CENECO General Manager Lawyer Danny Pondevilla received the symbolic key of the program dubbed the 4th Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) as there have been three other PURE projects implemented in the different parts of the country.
CENECO will provide technical support in running the facility including its maintenance and repair.
“Pandemic is not a hindrance to achieve more. I hope this will uplift the lives of the farmers and that this will be replicated in other electric cooperatives,” he said. (AAL/Lljr/PIA6 Negros Occidental)