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June 03, 2007

Bush Mentions Essential Oils in Major Policy speech

US President George W Bush mentioned essential oils in a major policy speech on foreign aid on Thursday, May 31, "President Bush Discusses United States International Development Agenda":

And now 14 additional nations are eligible to negotiate compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, headed by Ambassador Danilovich.

Let me give you an example of how this program can make a difference. In Madagascar the leaders of this island nation set a goal in their compact to improve agricultural production. In other words, we work with a nation, they have set the goal; we support their goal. They want their farmers to be able to compete in the global marketplace. We agreed to help by investing in agricultural business centers that work with local farmers. In one village, this initiative helped a group of farmers who were surviving by collecting firewood and producing charcoal. That's how these folks were trying to get ahead. They'd find firewood and make charcoal out of it, and hope they could find a market. It's a tough way to make a living in a modern world.

The business center that the compact established helped the farmers work together to identify a new product, a natural oil used in skin care products. I probably could use some of that myself. (Laughter.) The center helped these farmers develop -- helped them to develop a business plan. They acquired financing to set up a distilling plant. They built relationships with buyers in their nation's capital.

Before America and Madagascar signed our compact, a typical farmer in this village could earn about $5 a week selling charcoal. After two months of bringing the new product to the market, the livelihood of these farmers increased. One farmer was able to raise his income enough to save about $500, money he plans to use for a child's education. (emphasis supplied)

I've done some research and it appears that the "natural oil" is geranium. The original source material for Bush's writers was probably the same as this article:

In Madagascar, a programme identified geraniums as a high value-added market, formed a cooperative, doubled production capacity by training farmers, assisted the cooperative in accessing credit and negotiated a contract with a buyer, who is using the geraniums to produce essential oils for sale to the European market. When asked if the farmers enjoyed the smell of geraniums, the head of the cooperative replied, “We like the smell of money better.” The farmers’ income had increased by two-thirds thanks to MCC assistance.

It doesn't mention the distillation plant, but the article is by a Vice President for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. I searched for more information on the  web, but it doesn't appear to be there. [Note: I am leaving my political opinions out of this post, not because I don't have them, but because we are trying to keep focused on aromatics.]

Posted by Rob on June 3, 2007 in Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Politics | Permalink

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