A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Monday, March 24, 2008
Posted 9:14 PM by Tevita
RP faces copra shortage, as biofuel demand rises
By Conrad M. Cariño, Senior Desk Editor
From : The Manila Times
Biofuel’s gain, particularly biodiesel, is copra’s loss.
Demand for biodiesel from coconut will cause a shortage of about 100,000 metric tons (MT) of copra in 2009, according to the administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
Oscar Garin said Friday the country must produce 2.7 million metric tons of copra, the dried meat of coconut, in 2009 to meet the expected demand for coconut methyl ester, the biofuel component from coconut oil.
This will impact on the country’s export of traditional coconut oil, which is processed for use as cooking oil and an ingredient in the processing of food, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
But meeting the 2.7-million metric ton production for 2009 will be a tough call, Garin admitted, because copra production has been on a decline since 2005 with a production of 2.6 million metric tons, 2.5 million metric tons in 2006, and 2.3 million metric tons in 2007.
This year, the coconut agency is projecting a 2.43-million metric ton production in copra, with a program encouraging the use of table salt as fertilizer contributing to the increased output.
“Production declined in 2006 because of the typhoons [hitting the country]. But this year’s absence of a dry season favors coconut production,” Garin said.
The coconut agency sees copra production hitting 2.6 million metric tons in 2009.
“Where will we get that 100,000 MT shortfall? That’s the problem,” Garin said.
To increase copra production in the next few years, the coconut agency is alloting P1.98 billion this year and P2.59 billion next year. The propagation of salt as fertilizer is a major program of the agency to increase copra production.
Studies by the coconut agency show that the use of common table salt can increase copra production from 20 percent to 25 percent.
Garin said their ambitious program to plant an additional 16 million coconut trees nationwide in the next three years will impact on copra production in 2009, because it takes up to five years for a coconut tree to be productive from the day it is planted.
The country today has more than 324 million coconut trees planted to more than three million hectares of lands.
The high demand for copra for biodiesel, however, will benefit coconut farmers because they will have an alternative market for their produce, a member of the Farmer Sectoral Council said. The council is a consultative body of farmers under the National Anti-Poverty Council.
Also, a source from the biotechnology industry, told The Manila Times that any shortfall in copra production for cooking oil can be easily met by domestic malunggay production.
The source said malunggay oil has almost the same profile as sunflower oil, which is free of unhealthy trans-fatty acids. The oil from malunggay is extracted from its dried seeds.
This early, there are thousands of entrepreneurial farmers and landowners who are already growing malunggay for its oil, and because the tree can be productive one to two years from planting even without fertilizer or pesticide use.
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