By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:31:00 01/24/2008
MANILA, Philippines--A Japanese firm started last month a $600-million
coconut plantation project in northern Luzon.
Tokyo-based Pacific BioFields Corp., which has teamed up with local firm
BioEnergy Northern Luzon Inc., will convert and develop about 600,000
hectares of 'public and non-disposable' timberland and forest land into
Planting activities have started last month following the project's
groundbreaking in Caunayan village in the town of Pagudpud in Ilocos
The plantation forms part of a bigger project that also involves the
establishment of coconut methyl ester (CME), an essential component of
In a statement, BioEnergy president Salacnib Baterina said the coconut
plantation would be the biggest in the country.
Baterina said the project would be beneficial to the residents of the
area, considering the jobs it would create and the environment
protection programs the company would implement.
The coconut seedlings that will be used are the "Simba" variety,
Pacific Biofields president Moriaki Hayashida, in the same statement,
said the plan was to process the coconut produced in the plantation into
Hayashida added the joint venture would put up a CME plant in Curimao
town in Ilocos Norte, which will process the coconuts produced in
The entire output of the plant will be shipped to Japan to supply the
country's growing demand for biofuels, both for fuel-dependent
industries and manufacturing concerns.
Hayashida said the plant's output "will not even be enough to fill
Japan's huge biofuel requirement."
Japan's total diesel requirement reaches 40 billion liters a year, and
its plans for a CME blend of 5 percent will create a huge demand for
Japan is one of the four Asian countries planning to mandate the
blending of CME with petroleum diesel to reduce dependence on crude
The Pacific BioFields and BioEnergy earlier forged an agreement with the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on this coconut
planting and processing project.
So far, 65,000 hectares have been identified by the DENR technical
personnel as suitable planting areas, which spans from Pagudpud, Ilocos
Norte, going up to Abulog town in nearby Cagayan province.
Earlier, another Japanese firm, Toyo Engineering Corp., said it would
also put up a P60-billion CME manufacturing plant in Ilocos.
The venture will need some 600,000 hectares of coconut farms in new
areas, including areas in the provinces of Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur,
Ilocos Norte and La Union.
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