UPLB set to develop 120-ha. mixed tree farms in Laguna, Quezon

October 17, 2010 12:37 am 

LOS BANOS, LAGUNA, Oct. 16 is set to develop 120 hectares of land straddling the provinces of Laguna and Quezon into tree farms for biofuel, timber and agroforestry activities.

UPLB officials said the planned development of the area, which is part of the 6, 500 land grant to the UPLB, came following the grant by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of some P13 million for the setting up of mixed plantation site in barangays Sta. Clara and Tipuan within the boundary of Laguna and Quezon.

Forester Sofronio C. Camacho, head of the UPLB's Land Grant Management Office (UPLB-LGMO), said an 80-hectare plantation inside the land grant was also being developed into livelihood opportunities for people living in the nearby upland communities.

Camacho said that 10 hectares of the land grant was also being developed into a large rubber tree plantation, adding that rubber tree (Havea Brasiliensis) is among the recommended species for planting at the community-based UPLB land grant because rubber trees grow well under its good climate and environmental condition.

Dr. Art Castillo of UPLB’s Bureau of Agriculture Research said that when set in place, the rubber tree plantation will demonstrate to, and encourage residents in the area to venture into rubber tree planting.

Recently, the LGMO ventured into the cultivation of Citronella (Cymbopogon spp.) to generate income for the university, as well as encourage residents in the area to go into rubber tree planting.

According to Camacho, UPLB-LGMO had also started developing an initial five-hectare area of the land grant for Citronella planting, particularly the Tubang-bakod (Jatropa curcas) and Bani (Pongamia pinnata) varieties.

He said that Tubang-bakod has gained prominence in the country for its biofuel potential, while Bani seed oil, found to be also useful in diesel generators, is now being eyed worldwide as a biofuel feedstock.

University officials said, they hope to eventually sell biofuel oil to the Philippine Forest Corp. and Philippine National Oil Company.

The UPLB said that fast-growing and non-traditional forest species such as bagalunga, batino, anchoan dilaw and malapapaya will also be grown for timber on the 120-ha. mixed plantation site.

Officials said that in the next few years, wood from the forest plantation will be processed into kiln dried lumber, furniture, fixture and housing material components.

Camacho said that already put up in the project site were two large nurseries that continuously produce quality seedlings for planting materials.

LGMO’s organizational works were being done in the communities close to the project site, he said.(PNA) RMA/FMB

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