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Philippines seeks Spain investments in alternative fuels

by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Dec 3, 2007
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo will seek investments and funding for the country's alternative fuel sector when she begins a state visit to Spain later Monday, the agriculture department said.

"We have forwarded to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food several project proposals for consideration and possible funding," Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said in a statement.

"These include joint partnerships on (fisheries) development, biofuels, development of the blue-fin tuna industry and development of biofuels feedstock."

Aside from official aid, Yap said the agriculture department plans to sign an agreement with Bionor Transformacion, a European multi-feedstock biodiesel firm, to promote biofuels investments and identify land for feedstock development in the Philippines.

The Filipino agriculture department has identified more than 725,000 hectares (1.79 million acres) of idle agricultural land that can be planted with crops that could be used as feedstock for biofuels production.

These could be planted with cassava, palm oil, coconut, sugarcane, jatropha, and other crops to cash in on the biofuels boom in the global market, the department said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Arroyo signed the country's biofuels act, which aims to ease the country's dependence on imported petroleum products by requiring the mandatory use of biodiesel or ethanol and providing incentives to business groups engaged in biofuel production.

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