BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The European Union, through its Access to Sustainable Energy Program, launched its fourth project and first in the Visayas in Don Salvador Benedicto town, Negros Occidental, yesterday.
Ma. Teresa Lopez, vice president of the Team Energy Foundation Inc., and one of the donors, said the project included a pineapple fiber decorticating machine, powered by 9-4 kilowatt solar funnels and a building, that was inaugurated yesterday.
Located in Brgy. Bago, DSB, the machine will be used to process pineapple leaves into fiber that will be used to produce clothing and other materials, TEFI technical expert, engineer Silver Navarro, said.
Navarro said the 5-horse power machine is capable of producing 10 kilograms of fiber every day or 60 kilograms in a week, depending on the skills of the workers and the type of leaves used.
Salvador Benedicto town Mayor Marxlene De la Cruz said this project will help a lot, especially the 500 pineapple farmers tilling about 2,000 hectares, who were affected by the pandemic.
If this becomes successful, they will replicate it in other barangays, de la Cruz said, adding that they are to be chosen as the site for the program.
Johnny Pargoso, president of the Bago Integrated Solar Farmers Association and a recipient of the program, said this will benefit him and the 124 other farmers because the pineapple leaves that they used to discard will now become an alternative source of income.
Central Negros Electric Cooperative general manager Danny Pondevilla said they are happy that the EU decided to put up the project under their jurisdiction. Ceneco will be in charge of the maintenance of the solar funnels.
The ASEP pushes for the productive use of renewable energy in partnership between EU and the Department of Energy to support the government’s efforts to offer solutions towards increasing access to electricity, integrating renewable energy on and off-grid, and promoting energy efficiency.*