Jatropha funders back out, Capitol reviews contracts

WITH the project jatropha showing signs of being in jeopardy, Governor Edgar Chatto said he has commissioned a study group to review the contracts and see what the provincial government can do.

Then briskly sold by capitol through a point person, Project jatropha hopes to ignite in Bohol’s idle lands the habit of cultivating jatropha curcas, as an alternative source of livelihood and at the same time furnishing the source for the government’s bio-fuel development program.

Former governor Erico Aumentado believed that growing jatropha is a good alternative livelihood especially when the government itself is buying through the Philippine National oil Company under the Department of Energy’s alternative energy development program.
The project jatropha accordingly assures some 24,000 farmhand jobs, and the governor wasted no time in inking a memorandum of agreement with Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC) that would seal the Project Jatropha here.
The initial covenant was for Bohol to convert its idle lands into productive green-fuel source with the initial 3,000 hectares of jatropha curcas plantation, the farmers themselves getting paid P1.25 per plant while eight years later still owning the fruit-bearing tuba-tuba.
That agreement signed in 2009 also allowed PNOC to put up P23,000 per hectare as mobility fund which would be used for sourcing out for planting materials, labor component and inputs.
According to sources, one of the MOA provisions, call for the PNOC to buy jatropha from Bohol farmers in the next 25 years, considering the escalation costs.
But despite a dream-come true promise for Bohol farmers, recent reports said that financiers have backed out of the agreements and the present governor is at a loss on how to manage the problem.

Left with practically a combustible investment with people already nurturing fruiting jatropha and no buyers, Governor Edgar Chatto said part of the study is to determine the content of the initial agreements, identify the sites reforested with jatropha, and what are the deliverables of each signatory.

We need to review the agreements to that we will have an idea on how to approach the problem and craft solutions, Chatto said. (racPIABohol)

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