CABANGAN, CAMALIG, Albay—“Prevention is better than cure.”

This was the message of OIC-Chief of the Field Operations Division of the Department of Agriculture-5 Dr. Marygrace DP Rodriguez during the distribution of 500,000 citronella tillers to 720 barangays and 717 Elementary and High Schools in the province of Albay on October 28, 2019 at the Albay Farmers Bounty Village, Cabangan, Camalig, Albay.

She said that citronella will also provide additional livelihood for farmers.

According to Albay Vice-Governor Edcel Greco Lagman, Albay was placed under State of Calamity due to the rising cases of Dengue. He encouraged the farmers and representatives of schools to mass produce citronella not only because it is insect and pest repellant but because its oil can be extracted as scent in candles, soaps and essential oils .

He also said that this endeavor is an example of convergence wherein the DA, the Departments of Health (DOH), Education (DepEd) and other private stakeholders work closely together for the community.

During the mass distribution, Francisco Obiña discussed the cultural management of the plant. Obiña said that the plant needs six hours of early morning sunlight and can be harvested after 8-9 months.

Grace Teaño also demonstrated how to use citronella oil in candle making. Citronella is a cogon-grass look-alike which has various industrial uses. Its oil is used in perfumes, soaps, spray, candles and disinfectants. (jaysonmgonzales)