Agricultural Wastes in the Philippines

The Philippines is mainly an agricultural country with a land area of 30 million hectares, 47 percent of which is agricultural. The total area devoted to agricultural crops is 13 million hectares distributed among food grains, food crops and non-food crops. Among the crops grown, rice, coconut and sugarcane are major contributors to biomass energy resources.

The most common agricultural wastes in the Philippines are rice husk, rice straw, coconut husk, coconut shell and bagasse. The country has good potential for biomass power plants as one-third of the country’s agricultural land produces rice, and consequently large volumes of rice straw and hulls are generated.

Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. The Filipinos are among the world’s biggest rice consumers. The average Filipino consumes about 100 kilograms per year of rice.  Though rice is produced throughout the country, the Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley are the major rice growing regions. With more than 1.2 million hectares of rain-fed rice-producing areas, the country produced around 16 million tons of rice in 2007. The estimated production of rice hull in the Philippines is more than 2 million tons per annum which is equivalent to approximately 5 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in terms of energy. Rice straw is another important biomass resource with potential availability exceeding 5 million tons per year across the country.

With the passing of Biofuels Act of 2006, the sugar industry in the Philippines which is the major source of ethanol and domestic sugar will become a major thriving industry. Around 380,000 hectares of land is devoted to sugarcane cultivation. It is estimated that 1.17 million tonnes of sugarcane trash is recoverable as a biomass resource in the Philippines. In addition, 6.4 million tonnes of surplus bagasse is available from sugar mills. There are 29 operating sugar mills in the country with an average capacity of 6,900 tonnes of cane per day. Majority is located in Negros Island which provides about 46% of the country’s annual sugar production.

The Philippines has the largest number of coconut trees in the world as it produces most of the world market for coconut oil and copra meal. The major coconut wastes include coconut shell, coconut husks and coconut coir dust. Coconut shell is the most widely utilized but the reported utilization rate is very low.  Approximately 500 million coconut trees in the Philippines produce tremendous amounts of biomass as husk (4.1 million tonnes), shell (1.8 million tonnes), and frond (4.5 million tonnes annually).

Maize is a major crop in the Philippines that generates large amounts of agricultural residues. It is estimated that 4 million tonnes of grain maize and 0.96 million tonnes of maize cobs produced yearly in the Philippines. Maize cob burning is the main energy application of the crop, and is widely practiced by small farmers to supplement fuelwood for cooking.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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19 Responses to Agricultural Wastes in the Philippines

  1. Krisha Santos says:

    Good day, Sir. May we inquire where you obtained all the data presented in this article? Thanks.

    • Salman Zafar says:

      Dear Krisha
      Most of the data used in the article is based on our own research.
      Hope this information is of interest.

      Best wishes
      Salman Zafar

      CEO, BioEnergy Consult
      http://www.bioenergyconsult.com

      • Krisha Santos says:

        Hello, Sir. May we use the data in our waste characterization study? We are trying to estimate the amount of agricultural waste generated from rice production here in the Municipality of Laoang in Northern Samar, Philippines. We promise to cite the data source properly. Thanks.

        • Salman Zafar says:

          Dear Krisha
          Thanks for the message. Please feel free to use the data in your study. Glad to know that we have been of some help.

          Best wishes
          Salman Zafar

          CEO, BioEnergy Consult

  2. Oliver John M. Ortiz says:

    Good day sir, i’m a civil engineering undergraduate student of UP Los Banos and i’m interested in conducting a thesis on the viability of “rice straw ash” as a supplementary material in making concrete. Just want to ask where and how to get a significant amount of the said waste product(preferably near Laguna,Philippines). It would be of great help. Thank you and God Bless!

    • Salman Zafar says:

      Dear Oliver
      Thanks for your message. Nice to hear about your thesis topic.
      I would have been glad to help but unfortunately I am based in India and dont have specific information about locations in Philippines from where you can procure rice straw ash. Will surely inform if I come across potential leads.

      Wish you the best!
      Salman Zafar

      CEO, BioEnergy Consult
      http://www.bioenergyconsult.com

  3. Rahul Jain says:

    Dear Mr. Salman,
    Greetings for your research. As per the quantity of agricultural waste mentioned in your article, it is very clear that Philippines has a very good potential of producing energy from Biomass.
    I am working in the field of Biomass from last 5 yrs in India.
    Last year we successfully commissioned a 1.5 Tn/Hr Pellet Plant in India with Rice Husk and Rice Straw as major raw material.
    With this huge quantity of rice waste, Philippines can become a major Fuel Pellet exporter for Europe.
    We can together work on this.
    Thanks & Regards

  4. Good day, Sir. Is it possible for me to know the agricultural waste coming from the pineapple plantations in the Philippines? It would really be helpful for my reference in my research.

    Thank you.

  5. Jay-R Villarba says:

    sir, do you have the statistics of coconut petiole waste in the country?

  6. Pines says:

    Good day!

    Your article is helpful but I’m wondering where did the figure for Rice residues (specifically rice hull) came from?) I mean.. do we have any particular source?
    Form this paragraph:
    Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. The Filipinos are among the world’s biggest rice consumers. The average Filipino consumes about 100 kilograms per year of rice. Though rice is produced throughout the country, the Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley are the major rice growing regions. With more than 1.2 million hectares of rain-fed rice-producing areas, the country produced around 16 million tons of rice in 2007. The estimated production of rice hull in the Philippines is more than 2 million tons per annum which is equivalent to approximately 5 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in terms of energy. Rice straw is another important biomass resource with potential availability exceeding 5 million tons per year across the country.

    I am hoping to use it in my research on rice hull in the Philippines (or in central Luzon)
    .
    I hope you can help. Thank you.

  7. Jumark says:

    Is it okay if the rice straw will degraded

  8. Milagros B. Onalan says:

    Good day Sir,
    Can I use your data in my lecture notes.

    Thank you.

    Milagros B. Onalan

  9. ken says:

    Dear Salman,
    Thanks for the vast knowledge and impact on biomass.i am an exporter of palm kernel shell,pls can we get buyers or importers through your platform

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  12. Jade says:

    Hello Sir,

    May we please know the reference of these statements to use in our research.

    “Maize is a major crop in the Philippines that generates large amounts of agricultural residues. It is estimated that 4 million tonnes of grain maize and 0.96 million tonnes of maize cobs produced yearly in the Philippines. Maize cob burning is the main energy application of the crop, and is widely practiced by small farmers to supplement fuelwood for cooking.”

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