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Here in Bohol we do not have coconut plantations
« on: July 04, 2007, 04:22:01 PM »
By Joe Espiritu
Columnist
Bohol Sunday Post

The conflict between major oil producing Middle Eastern country and the United States caused the oil prices in the international market to rise. Fearing that the situation will last and the fuel situation will worsen, industrialized countries are looking for alternative fuel sources to keep their factories going. The industries of the world are held hostage to the decisions of the producing countries. Even if production will be controlled, fossil fuel would not last. It is not renewable; it has to reach the point of exhaustion. Fuel consuming countries depending upon Middle Eastern oil are looking for alternatives.

Non-traditional power sources had been harnessed. Many countries resorted to using atomic energy. However, even at this stage accidents had happened with devastating effects that most countries of the Third World are wary about using this source. Hydroelectric plants had been constructed but few countries have enough water resources. Geothermal sources were resorted to but not all countries are situated in the volcanic belt. Wind power had been tapped but trade winds are not constant in most places.

There had been attempts to build dendro thermal plants but this ran counter to forest conservation programs of most countries. As a result industrialists turn their attention to other sources, which can be renewable like farm products. Hence attention is focused on the tubatuba or kasla and the coconut. The tubatuba according to my neighbor Eric, can grow in poor soil and is drought resistant thus it can be planted anywhere. However, tubatuba growers have problems on obtaining planting materials. Unless those are readily available, large scale planting could not be attempted.

This time, eyes are focused on the coconut. A Japanese firm wants to process coconuts into methyl ester for fuel or fuel additive. The present cost of converting coconut oil into methyl ester is more than 120 pesos per liter but modern technology would lessen the cost so Toyo Engineering wants some 600,000 hectares to be planted to coconuts. Now comes the problem. Our coconut industry is dying. More trees are cit down, not only the senile ones but also even the productive trees. Ever since the logging ban, constructors resorted to coco lumber to fill the gap. When old trees were gone, they felled even fruit bearing ones. The Philippine Coconut Administration tried to limit the utilization of coco lumber but unless they go to the fields or deputize barangay officials, they cannot control the situation. There should be a “cut one plant two” policy imposed so the coconut groves can still be preserved.

Replacement with hybrids should be interspersed with the old variety. Hybrids are fast maturing, they bear fruit in three years, but they are short lived. The old species, though they mature two years later, live longer and bear better coconuts than the hybrid. Besides they do not need so much care and can withstand long draughts. In big islands, large tract of lands may be allocated to coconut plantations. However, in smaller islands, coconut planting will be scattered.

Here in Bohol we do not have coconut plantations, we plant coconuts on lands not suited for grain or vegetable farming. There are still spaces for coconuts. Good planting materials should be made available. When fossil fuels approach the point of exhaustion, the demand for methyl esters will be steady. More coconuts will be needed. Perhaps processing plants will be established here if we can keep down production costs. To allow the farmers to benefit from the demand, the middlemen should be eliminated. They are the ones who profit from the industry.

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=2345.0
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Planting Using Coconut Shells

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