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Biofuel produce

Salaseini Moceiwai
Saturday, August 23, 2014

BIOFUELS International Fiji expects to harvest about 50,000 pongamia pinnata plants at its Lekutu farm in Bua, Vanua Levu, by next year.

And if all goes according to plan, the company might just be the country's first biofuel producer as the three-year-old plants would be ready for extraction and processing at its Dreketi factory.

In an interview, company operations manager Timothy Gibbons (Jr) said if the plants stayed protected, their expectations of harvesting next year would probably come to pass.

"We are expecting to harvest about 50,000 plants next year," he said.

"One tree can produce about 25 litres of fuel.

"The trees can yield and produce pongamia for 65 years and they also have a life expectancy of 100 years.

"After their production period of 65 years, the trees can be better used for firewood or for other purposes for that matter.

"So far, we have about 120,000 trees, some of which are one and two-year olds at our Lekutu and Nasarawaqa farms."

Mr Gibbons (Jr) said the trees were usually ready for harvest between four to seven years.

"But because we have hybrid plants, we expect to harvest the three-year-old plants next year, which will be producing 100 kilograms of pods.

"For the farm in Nasarawaqa, plans are in the pipeline to expand the farming there.

"We have also established bee boxes at respective locations in the farm and this is simply because the bees assist in the production of pongamia."

"These are multi-million dollar plants and we work to protect them daily, " Mr Gibbons said.





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