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Acrocomia is native to Costa Rica and is very suited to the existing climate of the country. In addition, Acrocomia grows on a diversity of soil types, can tolerate drought and has relatively few pests and pathogens. Acrocomia does not compete with valuable land suitable for food crops because it grows very well on degraded land with poor soils. The plantations even improve the land upon which they grow, by stabilizing the soil, providing shade, capturing water and nourishing it with organic matter. Furthermore, Acrocomia supports reforestation efforts because it does not displace valuable forests. Acrocomia also takes care of the environment requiring only low amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and it offers long lived sustainable productivity.
Acrocomia reduces carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases emissions by acting as a carbon sink that captures CO2 and utilizes it for up to 60 years for plant development and fruit production. These fruits contain oil, which incidentally can be used to produce biodiesel and biokerosene. These characteristics improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions because every barrel of grown oil is equivalent to a non-imported and subsequently burned barrel. Planting Acrocomia therefore significantly contributes to Costa Rica’s CO2 Neutrality Goal.
The transition from fossil fuels to sustainable fuels is well underway. From international commercial flights to terrestrial transportation, and bio-powered electricity generation, the shift towards policies and technologies that support renewable energy is continuing to rapidly grow across the globe. GIE and its partners address these challenges of bioenergy production and its’ sustainable use by offering an innovative plan for coordinated progress towards low-carbon energy independence and economic sustainability.
Acrocomia creates sustainable jobs. The small scale viability of growing Acrocomia provides a promising opportunity for smaller land holders throughout rural Costa Rica. This happens because Acrocomia can be grown within an intercropping system and on low fertility soils. These characteristics improve land use efficiency and allow previously unproductive or degraded lands to become economically productive. By that means Acrocomia offers new perspectives in rural development. Its products are diverse and have a global demand. The multi-functional advantages of Acrocomia’s raw materials and their usage also generate new employment and income opportunities in the processing sector, nearby the plantations and also in other regions.