Two firms investing in Filipino ethanol plants

Two firms are looking to invest P3 billion (€43.7 million) in two planned facilities that will produce bioethanol in the Philippines.

Artech and Eco Frontier are consulting with the Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR) for technical support while scouting areas where they could plant sweet sorghum, the preferred feedstock of both companies.

'Eco Frontier and Artech are two of the major investors in sweet sorghum for bioethanol use,' BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar says.

He notes there are still a number of small-scale companies that are also interested in propagating sweet sorghum for ethanol production.

Heraldo Layaoen, the national programme coordinator for the sweet sorghum project, said investments will come on stream as soon as the government gives it full backing to the sweet sorghum initiative.

'We need government support as much as we need investments from the private sector. We cannot go ahead and implement the programme on our own. The sheer magnitude of the investments required will need private-sector participation,' said Layaoen.

Sweet sorghum is a drought tolerant, fast growing crop which can grow on marginal land and does not compete with food crops.

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