PNOC signs 1,000-hectare jatropha plantation development pact with 2 grower-partners in Negros Occidental
Manila (29 June) -- True to its mandate of promoting and accelerating the use of biofuels in the country to reduce dependence on imported fuel, the biofuels arm of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) - the PNOC Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC), has signed a pact with the Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Katilingban Sang Katawhan Sa Katayoyon Nga Kauswagan Sa Kabankalan, Inc. (5Ks) for the establishment of an aggregate area of 1,000-hectare jatropha plantation in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.
The project involves 500 hectares of jathropa plantation.
"The partnership that we have forged separately with our grower-partners Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and 5Ks marks the beginning of our collaborative effort towards establishing a most viable and sustainable biofuel feedstock in the country. We all intend to pool and commit our resources together to attain our production target of jatropha to fast track the country’s biofuel initiative," said Genaro Rafael K. Alvarez III, PNOC-AFC chairman.
Under the Memorandum of Agreements (MOA), the project that the PNOC-AFC will be funding involves an aggregate area of 500 hectares of jatropha plantation within the landholdings of Ilog Diversified Multi-Purpose Cooperative and another 500 hectares with 5Ks.
"The funds for the project will be released to PNOC-AFC's grower-partners in accordance with the Work and Financial Plan. The market for the jatropha seeds that will be produced from the plantation will not be a problem since the PNOC-AFC will be the assured market," said Alvarez.
In addition, the PNOC-AFC shall supply the jatropha seedlings and other farm inputs as well as pay for the labor during the planting process. The Company will likewise provide technical assistance for the setting up of the plantation and help in its maintenance for 18 months.
Meantime, the grower-partner will manage the plantation together with PNOC-AFC. It will also provide the necessary labor inputs for the plantation establishment and maintenance while complying with all the permitting requirements from appropriate government agencies.
"Being the leading proponent of jatropha production in the country, we are not only keen on providing a cost-competitive alternative feedstock for our biofuels industry, but we are also opening alternative venues for business enterprise as well as creating new job opportunities for our marginalized farmers in the countryside," noted Alvarez.
In line with the government's policy of reducing dependence on imported oil and utilizing indigenous renewable energy sources, the PNOC-AFC has a mandate to explore, develop and accelerate the use of alternative energy to enhance the country's energy security. (PIA) [top]