West Visayas eyed for bio-fuel plant
Iloilo City (19 October) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported recently that Western Visayas region was included among the seven areas in the country that investors plan to set up biofuels plants.
Aside from Western Visayas, Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap identified the other areas as Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern and Central Mindanao and the Davao Region.
Yap said the investors are planning to build biofuels plants either through straight purchases, lease arrangements, contract growing or joint ventures.
The DA expects the growing global demand for crop-based alternative clean fuels will further boost the Philippine farm sector increasing the profitability of small stakeholders and reducing the country's dependence on imported energy sources.
The DA, through the Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corp. (PADCC) has committed to promote the biofuels sector by generating awareness on the use of agricultural feedstocks for ethanol and biodiesel production.
The country's biofuel industry further receive a big boost after India committed to assist the Philippines to develop the industry through a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the Philippines and Indian-based PRAJ Industries during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's recent state visit to India.
Under the MOA both parties agreed to team up "for feedstock development and setting up of bio-fuel production plant" in the Philippines and will provide assistance in identifying varieties of sweet sorghum and jatropha for cultivation trials.
Other crops identified used as feedstock for biofuels production are cassava, oil palm, coconut and sugarcane.
It will be recalled that early this year President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved Republic Act 9637 or the Bio-fuels Act that seeks to reduce dependence on imported fuels with due regard to the protection of public health, the environment and natural ecosystem consistent with the country's sustainable economic growth that would expand opportunities for livelihood. (PIA) [top]