Rep Flores, DOST encourage Bukidnon farmers to extract valuable fiber from waste pineapple leaves

Cong Flores together with PD Ritchie Mae Guno facilitated the ribbon cutting.

Bukidnon Second Congressional District Representative Atty. Jonathan Keith Flores and the Department of Science and Technology have partnered to support projects in the production of fibers from pineapple leaves which are abundant in the province.

Through this joint initiative, various equipment were turned over to 38 marginalized pineapple farmer groups with over 1000 members on January 18, 2024 in Lantapan, Bukidnon

Among the equipment given were the 1-unit decorticating machine, 1-unit fiber brusher, and 1-unit hydraulic presser.

These innovative pineapple fiber equipment are designed to significantly improve the extraction and produce better fiber from waste pineapple leaves. These fibers will be sold to General Santos City and other parts of the country as fiber for textile and other products.

This intervention, under the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, not only benefits the environment but also opens an opportunity for additional sources of income for the community.

Rep. Flores took note of the growing Pineapple industry in the province. “Bukidnon, is the Pineapple Capital of the Philippines. Wherever in the province, a pineapple plantation is visible, I’ve observed their process for disposing of plant parts after harvesting fruits. Utilizing the leaves for fiber extraction and textile production presents an opportunity to reduce waste and generate income for local communities,” he said.

Rep. Flores recognized the challenges posed by the costly and labor-intensive disposal method of pineapple leaves and partnered with DOST for a science and technology-based innovation transforming these wastes into valuable fiber.

He has also allocated additional funds to facilitate the acquisition of more equipment. This move is geared towards replicating the successful production model in other parts of Bukidnon, ensuring that the benefits of this project reach far and wide.

The Local Government of Lantapan has also expressed support for this initiative. Present during the event were LGU Lantapan councilors, Hon. Neil Joshua C. Luardo and Hon.  Aurora Rubio, Municipal Engineer Jesell S. Pacturan, and Kibangay barangay officials and the presidents of the livelihood groups of HKJ Marketing Cooperative.

LGU Lantapan Mayor Enrie Devibar has been an active partner of DOST Bukidnon since 2017 through the CEST program. LGU Lantapan was awarded as the regional best CEST community by DOST in 2020.

Pineapple fiber, known for its versatility and quality, serves as a raw material for producing quality textiles that command a higher market price. Recognizing the sustainability potential of the project, local pineapple companies have pledged their support by providing pineapple leaves to the beneficiaries. This collaborative effort not only reduces waste but also reinforces the symbiotic relationship between industry players and the local community.

This project is anchored to the DOST Pillar of Wealth Creation, which aims to strengthen the livelihood initiatives through science, technology, and innovation. This is also anchored to the Sustainable Development Goal number 8 of the United Nations, which aims to Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (Jenifer O. Pancho/DOST 10)