Hirohiko Omura of Toyota Tsusho’s North American Region Group-Global Project Planning Development told reporters a study was being conducted with Dole Philippines involving 50- to 200-hectare lots in Davao City and General Santos.

But it has yet to find a location to plant jathropa, the raw material for the biodiesel plant.

“We expect to complete the study in the next two years before deciding whether to push through with the plan. [We chose] jathropa because it does not compete with the food market unlike coconut oil,” Omura said.

He said the Japanese trading firm lacks the experience that Dole Philippines has when it comes to the country’s agriculture sector.

The output will be for local consumption but may also be exported to China, Europe and South Korea. “There is no amount yet for the project because [we are not yet done with the study],” Omura said.

Judith Ann Mae M. Luna, project development officer of the Philippine Agriculture Development and Commercial Corp., said the country has a surplus of biodiesel supply.

Demand for biodiesel is expected at 169 million liters this year, lower than the country’s 352-million-liter supply.