Today before the opening bell, VIASPACE announced that it has entered into a contract with AGRICORP of Managua, Nicaragua, and is growing Giant King™ Grass on land owned by them. It is anticipated that AGRICORP shareholders and VIASPACE will co-develop a biomass electric power plant fueled by Giant King Grass in Nicaragua.
A subsidiary of Grain Hill, AGRICORP has sales of $300 million per year with operations in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Grain Hill is a diversified agro-industrial business group and well known as the largest rice company in Nicaragua with 65% market share. AGRICORP/Grain Hill is engaged in the following food-related businesses: growing rice, food processing, rice milling, and distribution of its own 12 brands of rice, value-added food products, and third-party brands.
Giant King Grass is being grown on part of a 10,000-acre AGRICORP farm near Lake Nicaragua. 60% of the acres on this farm are currently cultivated with rice and irrigated with water from Lake Nicaragua. An AGRICORP rice mill is co-located on the farm which would also be the site of the power plant. The rice mill produces rice husk as waste which would also be used as a small portion of the biomass fuel for the power plant. VIASPACE has posted pictures of the AGRICORP rice farm and the irrigation for the Giant King Grass on its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ViaspaceInc.
"We plan to use our land and know-how in agriculture to bring reliable and sustainable biomass electricity to Nicaragua," Grain Hill CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas, stated. "We will reduce our costs by generating electricity for our own use, and sell the remainder to the grid which needs additional reliable sources. Giant King Grass will be the primary fuel, but will be supplemented by rice husk which is a byproduct of our rice milling operations. The Giant King Grass plantation and power plant will create additional employment which will enhance our community, and the project will bring value to our diversified company."
Dr. Carl Kukkonen, VIASPACE CEO, commented, "AGRICORP is a perfect partner for VIASPACE. They are very experienced in agriculture. On the rice farm where Giant King Grass is growing, they have experienced staff including several agronomists. They have an extensive suite of equipment including airplanes for crop dusting, and plenty of irrigation from Lake Nicaragua to supplement natural rainfall. We have been talking with AGRICORP since July 2011 and have a confidentiality agreement with them. I have visited Nicaragua twice and a VIASPACE agronomist was with me, and he went again to oversee the Giant King Grass planting. In parallel with growing Giant King Grass, we will be working together on the plans for the biomass power plant. VIASPACE is playing a leading role in this development."
"Grain Hill/AGRICORP is a diversified company with a mandate for agricultural innovation and sustainability. Renewable and sustainable biomass power has been on our agenda for some time," added Edgard Cuadra Chamorro, Strategic Business Manager. "When we contacted VIASPACE, we realized that Giant King Grass would present a unique opportunity for our company. I will be working closely with VIASPACE on the power plant development."
For more information, visit VIASPACE.com
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