From: the Fiji Times - 30/06/2008
THE National Strategic Committee on Bio-Fuel is yet to ascertain the amount of raw material required to cater for a bio-diesel plant.
Committee chairman Viliame Yabakivou said ethanol produced from cassava and bio-diesel through the use of coconut oil were projects undertaken by the committee to promote renewable energy.
He said they were looking for local investors who were interested in the regeneration of bio-fuel from coconut and other oil crops.
"That is still open at the moment and we haven't gone into the serious details of establishing a bio-diesel plant for copra," he said.
"But we have identified coconut as a potential raw material but there are other alternatives as well.
"Bio-diesel requires a good amount of coconut and we cannot authenticate the required amount to produce the necessary amount for bio-diesel.
"Right now we are tempted to encourage our producers to produce oil rather than copra because of the production and marketing problems associated with copra.
"So we want to move a step further a produce oils in their own farms."
For the sustainability of production, Mr Yabakivou said they would encourage a replanting program because many trees were senile.
"We have about 60 hectares of coconuts in Fiji and that is 60 million trees, but in 20 years these trees will be old so we are encouraging replanting so we can have a consistent supply of raw materials."