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Hello I am Dan Paulo J. Verdad from the Philippines.

I live in Butuan City, it is full of natural resources and lots great business opportunities. A lot of people here think that there are not much opportunities here. In an employment sense yes, there are not many opportunities here but in a business sense it has a lot of opportunities but not enough people are financially capable of tapping into its rich natural resources.

Currently I am looking at a few possibilities that could turn this sleepy down into a business and trading hub. Back in the 60's and 70's Butuan as known as the timber city of the Philippines. There were lots of hardwood and timber here but people here are not much a fan of replanting trees. The result is denuded forests and no sustainable income source for the majority of the population. Environmental destruction is happening again as miners come in and do some irresponsible mining. The tribal folk owning the lands with not much opportunity resort to selling their land to miners and the government cannot do anything to stop them and cannot even give people sustainable livelihoods.

So far what I am looking into are:
1. A viable alternative for almonds. An edible plant exists in abundance in Butuan City with flavor similar to almond nuts. These plants primarily grow in coastal areas. What I like about these plants is that they are highly resistant to salinity making it very viable to cultivate in Butuan and other parts of the Philippines because of its very large coastline and no one has been cultivating it yet. It can also help augment the income of coastal communities not only in Butuan but gradually the whole country. Reducing the coastal communities' fishing activity as a source of income minimizes the harvesting of fish stocks therefore saving more fish. Not only that if these nuts could replace almonds to some extent more land can be saved from dairy farm clearing operations because instead of milk almond milk can be a viable alternative to dairy milk.

2. Bio fuel from azolla. Azolla is a water fern that doubles its biomass every couple of days. Butuan is full of lowlands and wetlands and azolla grows abundantly in them. If azolla can be cultivated in manmade ponds and either femented to become ethanol or allowed to decay to produce methane it can be a viable source of fuel because it is renewable plus it absorbs suspended carbon in the air therefore reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It’s like hitting 2 birds with one stone greenhouse reduction plus alternative fuel. Not only that, if positioned properly it absorb heavy metals in the water reducing the heavy metal leak by some mines.

3. With the growing trend for eco friendly materials the need for renewable wood is slowly increasing. Butuan is also an ideal place for bamboo to grow and bamboo is fast growing. If bamboo would be turned into value added products more people will have jobs primarily the people who lost their jobs in the collapse of the sawmill industry. If the bamboo business is a success we can divert more attention to it from investors and loggers reducing their need to harvest wood from non-renewable sources.

Any help would bring me closer to fulfilling this dream.

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