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PIA Press Release
2007/09/08

PNOC-AFC pushes jatropha as most viable biodiesel feedstock

Tacloban City (September 8) -- The Philippine National Oil Company - Alternative Fuels Corporation believes that with the rising prices of fossil fuels, biofuels will emerge as a huge industry in the country and it has chosen to initially focus on jatropha as its biodiesel feedstock.

PNOC-AFC is targeting to develop the Cagayan de Oro-General Santos Corridor establishing Mindanao as the main hub for Jatropha plantation development considering the huge size of idle lands in these areas.

PNOC-AFC President and CEO Peter Anthony A. Abaya said that the corporation does not aim at making farmers shift their food crop production to jatropha. The farmers must continue growing rice, sugar and other food crops but they must be given additional income by planting idle lands with jatropha, he said.

There are land areas which might be marginal but yet can be productive nonetheless for biofuel crops such as jatropha. There are niches for which biofuel crops can be explored.

Meantime, PNOC-AFC has already addressed issues and hesitations on jatropha as a biodiesel feedstock not only through its research initiatives with the UPLB but also via actual field tests in plantations in Talakag and Camp Kibaritan in Bukidnon, Barangays Lumbia and Pagatpat in Cagayan de Oro City, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, and the Royal Green Energy Development Corporation in Palawan.

Results of Royal Green's experimentation showed that there has been a positive result on the viability of jatropha propagation particularly in Palawan and in Mindanao.

Based on Royal Green's research and experience, the traditional cultivation practices in India and Africa are not suited to the climate and soil conditions in Palawan and Mindanao thus should not be compared at all. The Philippines has a higher annual rainfall compared with African nations and India. The average rainfall in Palawan is 2,600 millimeters (mm) compared with 600mm in India. In addition, the fertility of soil in Palawan and Mindanao are far better than that of India since most lands in India are quite dry, hot and red in color. (PIA 8) [top]

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