Lucena City – the Jatropha planting project, one of the flagship advocacy of the provincial government of Quezon in the field of agriculture has started to bear its potential when it received the much needed financial assistance from Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) recently.
Said financial assistance was realized through the initiative of Governor Rafael P. Nantes where the provincial government entered into agreement with PNOC Alternative Fuel Corporation to make use 250,000 hectares of idle lands in the province for jatropha plantation, wherein group of farmers were bonded together to form corporations for the said purpose.
Earlier on, Nantes created the Quezon Jatropha Development Board under the Economic Enterprise Unit of the Provincial government. Headed by the governor himself, its vice-chairman is Oscar Bunyi, Francisco Sevilla Jr. is executive director, and Abner Punzalan, June Lee, Aristeo Flores and Dennis Guerrero as members of the board.
The PNOC-AFC P25 million financial assistance will be equally distributed to farmer cooperatives that pioneered to the jatropha venture.
It can be recalled that jatropha project became the governor’s priority concern upon the enactment of RA 9367 more known as Biofuels Act of 2006, that upon signing of memorandum of agreement to concerned government agencies, Nantes allocated 100,000 hectares from its vast idle lands.
Studies showed that the oil from the jatropha seeds is an effective additive for diesel fuels, and the government is aiming that it will fill up to 20% as fuel component for the next ten years, thus making it as future multi-billion peso industry. (Gwen Moreno)