The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) signed on July 19 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate the exchange of expert knowledge, technical information, and best practices related to the biofuels industry and policy development.
The signing ceremony took place during the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agribusiness Trade Mission to Manila this week.
“The Philippines continues to position itself as a regional leader in biofuels. The contributions from experts at MMSU’s National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) help underpin this impressive growth,” USGC Regional Director for Southeast Asia & Oceania Caleb Wurth said.
The U.S. Grains Council’s ethanol development program works with partners globally to expand the market for fuel and industrial use ethanol.
“The Council stands ready to collaborate with biofuel experts at MMSU to further promote the use of biofuels to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, generate rural employment and income, and lower prices at the pump for the Filipino people,” Wurth added.
Located in Batac, Ilocos Norte, MMSU is a leading institution of higher education and houses the NBERIC, a USAID-supported state-of-the-art hub for bioenergy research, training, extension, and technopreneurship.
“MMSU is deeply grateful to USGC for initiating this partnership. This will surely help the NBERIC in its mandate to support the Philippine government’s renewable energy program towards energy security and sustainability,” said MMSU President Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis.
Witnessing the signing were U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Daniel Whitley, and Philippine Department of Energy Undersecretary Roberto Uy.
“Clean energy is a foundational component of our Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and ethanol is a clean, renewable, fiscally-prudent alternative,” said CDA Variava in her remarks.
FAS Administrator Whitley noted, “this agreement will create new economic opportunities for agricultural producers while helping the Philippines reduce its dependence on imported petroleum products.”
“I reiterate my support and commitment to the production of bioenergy that gives good profit to vertically-integrated farmers yet fair to the consuming public,” Undersecretary Uy said.