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Dole-Philippines to DONATE pineapple leaves for piÑatex leather production

For the poor and marginalized

By Manny Piñol

Top officials of Dole-Philippines, one of the country's oldest multinational companies involved in fruit production, have pledged to support the Piñatex leather production livelihood project of the Department of Agriculture by "donating" to poor families pineapple leaves from their over 18,000-hecare plantations all over Mindanao.

In a meeting earlier today, Sunday, with officials of Dole Philippines led by Carlos H. Mandujano, senior vice president for worldwide agriculture and research, I asked them to support the anti-poverty program of the administration of President Rody Duterte by allowing poor families to gather pineapple leaves after the fruits are harvested.
Pineapple leaves and pulp are usually left to rot in the field before huge tractors are fielded to prepare the area again for the next planting season.

A Spanish scientist and designer, Dr. Carmen Hijosa, however, developed a technology which processes pineapple leaves into leather form which is now being used by shoe-makers, furniture designers and even expensive car manufacturers for seat covers.

The "green leather" produced from pineapple leaves fibre is called Piñatex and Dr. Hijosa's company is buying decorticated fibres from pineapple farmers.

Last week, Dr. Hijosa and her group visited the Dept. of Agriculture and met with me to express their desire to buy more pineapple fibre from farmers.

Her company is now buying pineapple fibres from farmers in Labo, Camarines Sur at P1 per kilo of leaves.

She, however, said that if the leaves are decorticated, her company could buy the fibre at P300 per kilo.

Dr. Hijosa also said that in view of the big demand now for Piñatex "natural leather," her company wanted to buy more fibres if the farmers could source pineapple leaves from the big plantations.

Yesterday, Carlos Mandujano, whom I helped in establishing the Dole banana plantations in North Cotabato and who I befriended when I was still Governor, readily said Dole Philippines was willing to help the farmers by donating the pineapple leaves after harvest.
With over 18,000-hectares of pineapple plantations, Dole Philippines' support to the Piñatex natural leather production could lift thousands of farmers from poverty.

Mandujano and I agreed to prepare a Memorandum of Agreement between Dole Philippines, the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Hijosa's company and the groups of poor people which I would like to be signed this month in the presence of President Duterte.

The MOA will stipulate that Dole Philippines will provide pineapple leaves to the poor families living in the periphery of their plantations, the DA will provide technical support and decorticating machines including dryers and Dr. Hijosa's group will buy the decorticated pineapple fibre.
Hopefully, I will be able to convince the other companies involved in pineapple production - Sumifru and Del Monte - to follow the example of Dole Philippines.

With a total pineapple plantation area of 44,000 hectares nationwide, the program could become a major dollar earning business while at the same time lifting marginalised families from poverty.

#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers! #PeraMulaSaPiña!
(Photos downloaded from Google shows pineapples being harvested in the Dole Philippines plantation. Other photos show Carlos Mandujano and other officials of Dole Philippines with me during our meeting at the Matina Golf Club in Davao City yesterday. Photos taken by Leo Villareal.)

Photo and text courtesy of Secretary Manny Piñol

Dole-Philippines to DONATE pineapple leaves for piÑatex leather production Dole-Philippines to DONATE pineapple leaves for piÑatex leather production Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 8:37:00 PM Rating: 5

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