The Department of Energy (DOE) has engaged the University of the Philippines to conduct studies on the new plans for biodiesel oil that can benefit both coconut farmers and consumers.
Secretary Zenaida Monsada said the University of the Philippines Los-Banos (UPLB) and the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UP Economics) are doing research on the impact of biodiesel on coconut farmers and on fuel prices.
Monsada said the studies will determine how farmers can benefit based on the objectives under the Biofuels Law, without burdening the consumers.
“One of the reasons to increase the biodiesel blend is to improve the quality of life in the countryside, to help the farmer… But in helping the coconut farmers with biodiesel, we may see a shift in burden to consumers in the form of higher fares as a result of the vicious cycle of price hikes,” Monsada said.
Biodiesel blends were at a two percent blend (B2) in 2009. Estimated increases were at five percent (B5) by 2015, 10 percent in 2020 and 20 percent in 2030. However, biodiesel blends remain at B2.
In February 2015, the National Biofuels Board (NBB) assigned UPLB to conduct studies on the impact of higher blended biodiesel on coconut farmers to find out how they would benefit from a B5.
The DOE previously spoke to UPLB economics professor U-Primo Rodriguez about studying the impact of biodiesel on farmers, and Rodriguez has created a model where farmers can reap benefits from a high blend in biodiesels.
The Biofuels Act of 2006 the quantity of coconut oil for fuel, if mixed with diesel, will be increased taking into account domestic supply and the available locally sourced biodiesel.