1st Mindanao Jatropha forum in CDO on Aug 28

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been invited to grace the affair initiated by the Philippine National Oil Company Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC) as part of its  intensified campaign on the advantages of growing Jatropha, locally known as “tuba-tuba,” as an alternative livelihood for farmers, Renato Velasco, Ph.D., chair of the PNOC-AFC Board, said. 

“Jatropha Feedstock: Prospects and Challenges,” is the forum’s theme.

Jatropha leaves are used by people in the community as herbal cure for sprains, and is very easy to grow in one’s own backyard

The PNOC-AFC is targeting to develop at least 500 hectares of open, marginal, idle and underdeveloped lands in the boundaries of barangays Lumbia, Canitoan and Pagatpat for Jatropha curcas model plantation and seed orchards.

The model plantation will “support the seeds and/or seedling requirements for the development of at least 700,000- hectares plantations in various parts of Mindanao.”

Already, in her State of the Nation Address last month, President Arroyo cited “190,000 hectares of Jatropha plantation in Bukidnon and General Santos as part of the effort to cut diesel use under the Biofuels Act– also to help fill gaps of the islands energy problem.”

The Jatropha forum will discuss, among others, the government’s program of developing alternative sources of fuel, such as planting of Jatropha curcas “which is also considered among its poverty alleviation measures for the marginalized industrial plant growers,” the Philippine Information Agency in Northern Mindanao reported.

Topics of the forum include the Jatropha Roadmap, Programs and Activities by Peter Anthony A. Abaya, PNOC-AFC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jatropha Feedstock Production by Cesar R. Ventura, President and CEO, Royal Green Energy Development, Inc. (RGEDI) and Research and Development (R&D) on Jatropha by Luis Rey I. Velasco, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna; the Government’s Energy Security and the BioFuels Program by Energy Secretary Angelo  Reyes, Jatropha Feedstock Outlook: Policies and Challenges by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and Financing Options and Strategies for Jatropha Projects by Gilda E. Pico, President and CEO, Land Bank of the Philippines.

The PNOC-AFC and LBP will also sign a Memorandum of Agreement for joint Jatropha ventures. (MindaNews)