Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Biodiesel Project on Verge of Collapse

Biodiesel Project on Verge of Collapse

25 June 2012

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Zimbabwe’s search for sustainable energy has hit a brick wall as a 
state-funded project launched in 2005 to address critical fuel shortages 
through the extraction of biodiesel from jatropha seeds, is now on the verge 
of collapse.

Government representatives, lawmakers and energy experts told VOA Monday, 
Zimbabwe has almost abandoned the project, now relegated to an experiment in 
the agriculture ministry’s technology department.

One of the jatropha processing plants set up five years ago in Mount Hampden 
near Harare by Zimbabwe and North Koreans, they say, is now a white elephant 
due to the non-availability of jatropha seeds.

The central bank disbursed about Z$3 billion (US$12 million) between 2005 
and 2007 for the biodiesel project launched by President Robert Mugabe amid 
pomp and funfare.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo said lack of funding is crippling the 
jatropha fuel project. Jatropha curcas is a drought tolerant shrub with oil 
rich seeds that make diodisiel and stockfeed.

Parliamentary agriculture committee member Moses Jiri said government should 
stop funding the project.

“Parliament needs to carry out an investigation into this project as we 
suspect that government funds were abused,” said Jiri.

Agronomist Thomas Nherera believes that farmers are not well-equipped to 
handle the jatropha plants for commercial purposes. 


New Posts: