Friday, October 29, 2010

German group eyeing ‘kasla’ plantations in Iloilo

A group of German investors is looking for areas in Iloilo province where they could plant jatropha, locally known as “kasla,” to be used for power generation.

Officials of Kasla Energy Philippines Inc. (KEPHIL) accompanied the German investors led by Jurgen Unfried of Kasla Group in meeting Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. yesterday to ask for the official’s support for the project.

Defensor welcomed the project and offered to set a meeting between the investors and the mayors next month to discuss the proposal.

Mario Macainan, president and chief executive officer of KEPHIL based in Bacolod City, said the project not only promotes environmental protection and sustainable renewable energy but can also provide livelihood for farmers.

Macainan said their group will provide the farmers “kasla” seedlings while the German investors will buy the “kasla” products.

He said they have initially coordinated with Mayors Alex Centena of Calinog and Reynor Gonzales of Lambunao, who showed interest in the project.

Macainan said KEPHIL, in partnership with the German investors, will establish an expelling plant for oil extraction from jathopha seeds that will have a production capacity of 200 Mio. liters of “kasla” oil per year.

They are targeting at least 80,000 hectares of land planted to jatropha trees and for the production of “kasla” seeds, he said.

Macainan said jatropha is not only an endemic source of sustainable renewable energy, but is also useful in reforestation, soil rehabilitation, and soil erosion.*

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