Ethiopia expands Jatropha plantation to produce biodiesel

The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian and Norwegian governments at a cost of over $2.8 million.

Ethiopia expands Jatropha plantation to produce biodiesel

World Bulletin/News Desk

Ethiopia is expanding Jatropha plantation to produce 500 million litres of biodiesel from the inedible plant, which can yield 600 litres of biodiesel from a single ton of seeds, an Ethiopian official said on Monday.

"The country has designed a five-year Jatropha development project aimed at transplanting 700 million Jatropha seedlings and produce 500 million litres biodiesel," Bizuneh Tolcha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian and Norwegian governments at a cost of over $2.8 million.

"Production of biodiesel from Jatropha will help the country save foreign currency, which is spent on the import of petroleum," he added.

According to government estimates, Ethiopia spends close to $2 billion a year to import petroleum from Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

"There is an area of 2.5 million hectares suitable for Jatropha plantation in different parts of the country," Tolcha said.

He noted that so far, 90,000 hectares of land is covered with Jatropha plants.

The spokesperson said that his ministry is working to modernize the Jatropha plantation and encourage investors engage in the activity.

"So far six investors and some three domestic NGOs have given prime attention to Jatropha plantation. The investors and NGOs are transplanting 250 million Jatropha seedlings," he said.

Tolcha said that efforts were also underway to produce Jatropha seed pulping and squashing machines, noting that pulping and squashing machines are being installed in Tigray and South Ethiopia Peoples' States, which will have the capacity to produce a total of 5000 litres biodiesel.

Jatropha is a drought resistant plant, which contributes in natural resource conservation as it can grow on depleted land.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Temmuz 2014, 17:48

Muhammed Öylek

YORUM EKLE