Philippine Coconut Authority: B5 blend requirement is a win farmers rightfully deserve
The Philippine Coconut Authority, as the agency tasked to develop the coconut industry to its full potential and as a member of the National Biofuel Board, strongly supports the Department of Energy’s efforts in pursuing its plan to increase the contribution of biofuels in the country’s energy mix, which includes the proposed increase in the biodiesel blend from B2 to B5.
“This is a very welcome development, and the Authority fully supports and commends Secretary Alfonso Cusi of the DOE for this effort,” said Benjamin Madrigal Jr., PCA administrator. “Aside from its positive effect on the environment, health and fuel efficiency, one of the benefits of increasing the biodiesel blend from B2 to B5 is the increased domestic utilization of crude coconut oil (CNO), which would lessen our dependence on the unstable world market price for our copra, CNO, and other coconut-based products. The increase in the domestic demand for coconut oil through the full implementation of B5 will definitely improve the copra farmgate price, and will eventually redound to the benefits of our farmers.”
According to DOE Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III, in the DOE’s Biofuels Roadmap 2018-’40 targets, the country’s biodiesel requirement should have been increased to 5 percent in 2020. However, this target was not met due to the impacts of the pandemic such as the lack of assurance in the sufficiency of biodiesel supply due to limitations in logistics and transportation difficulties. Along this line, on Jan. 27, PCA hosted a virtual meeting with CME producers and oil millers regarding their commitment and assurance of CNO sufficiency for the implementation of B5.
The Biofuels Act of 2006 (RA 9367), which was enacted in January 2007, directs the use of biofuels and the increase in the contribution of biofuels in the country’s energy mix to reduce dependence on imported fuels, enhance the quality of the environment, and create opportunities for livelihood.
“Aligned with the Department of Agriculture’s Eight Paradigms to Level up Agriculture under the leadership of Secretary William Dar, PCA has been focusing on programs and projects which aim to increase productivity and the quality of our coconuts,” Madrigal said. “With these continuing and developing efforts from our part and the DOE’s soon implementation of the 5 percent biodiesel requirement, our coconut farmers would have another win they rightfully deserve.”
Other direct impacts of B5 implementation include restoration of engine efficacy due to clean combustion with more power and mileage efficiency; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and forex savings on fuel imports, which amount to about $284 million per year.
Aside from the regular participation in National Biofuel Board meetings and meetings with the DOE, PCA has also been closely working with coconut industry stakeholders, especially coconut farmers, through the regional and provincial coconut industry stakeholders’ fora, to identify measures to ensure that coconut farmers directly benefit from the move from B2 to B5.