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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Philippine Biochar Association (PBiA) in the news

Pro-biochar group supports government's efforts to achieve sufficiency in rice (link)

"THE Philippine Biochar Association (PBiA) is keen on backing government initiatives to attain rice sufficiency, achieve food security and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. The PBiA expressed its support during the first national conference on biochar initiatives in the country at the Philippine Social Science Center on Tuesday. In his address, Philip Camara, PBiA founding member and a member of the lead advisory council, said what the country needs to do is to try removing carbon dioxide (C02) from the atmosphere and not just rely on neutrality or mitigation. “The biochar technology can help us do that,” he added. Biochar, now practiced by some farmers in Zambales province’s Botolan town, is charred biomass usually produced from agricultural and forestry organic waste material like rice hull, straw, corn stover, coconut husks, tree branches and fallen trees by applying heat with very limited oxygen to the biomass. The process releases synthesis gases or syngases that can be harnessed for renewable energy and leaves behind charcoal. The PBiA said biochar is intended for use in farm soils while charcoal is for cooking.

Biochar is also being supported by international leaders. Former US Vice President Al Gore said biochar is one of the newest and most exciting strategies for restoring carbon in depleted soils and sequestering significant amounts of CO2 for 1,000 years. Dr. Bernardo Tadeo, member of the PBiA board of trustees, said many farmers are now testing the use of biochar, with some reporting higher farm yields. During the two-day conference, attendees discussed organic farming, climate-change adaptation and mitigation, local biochar network and the integration of biochar into companies’ corporate social responsibility programs."

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