*Project to be completed in Kogi by 2018
*Jatropha farmers’ cooperatives to get N1m
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Bank of Industry (BOI), is poised to enhance in bio-diesel refining in the continent with the establishment of the first bio-diesel refinery in Kogi, which will gulp $500,000.
The project is expected to commence operations by 2018 in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Europe and America recently announced that vehicles and equipment running on fossil fuel would be banned by 2040, as they are harzadous to health and environment; and would to be replaced by bio-fuel oil, electricity and solar-powered automobiles and machines
The refinery, when completed, would turn out 100,000 liters of bio-diesel from Jatropha plant which is an eco-friendly fuel, which does not constitute hazard to the environment.
Director of Agronomy, Kogi bio-fuel Refinery Nigeria Limited, Emmanuel Ogu, said this in Abuja, during the annual meeting of Jatropha Growers Processors and Export Association of Nigeria (JaGPEAN).
He said, “the CBN, through the BOI has approved about $500,000 for the establishment of a bio-diesel refinery in Kogi, which will produce about 100,000 liters bio-diesel per day; and also provided about N1 million funds for cooperatives engaged in Jatropha farming, which would be repaired at nine per cent interest rate.
He said,”Bio-diesel is an oil from a plant source; while ordinary diesel is an oil from a fossil fuel. Fossil fuel is damaging to the environment, its causing climate change, but bio-diesel is good for the climate. It is a clean oil and does not damage the environment.
“Now that we have funding coming from the CBN, it will take less than one year to get the refinery fully installed.” Ogu affirmed
He said that some of the states that would benefit from the first tranche of the Jatropha farming funding include Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Benue and Nassarawa; as their products would serve as feed to the refinery in Kogi that is going to refine it into bio-diesel.
“Kogi is raising about 140 cooperatives to kick-start in phase one. But, why we are doing 140 is to have the capacity to manage them in this first phase, but after some time, it will go to about 3-4,000 cooperatives,” he said.
The problem we have in this country today, Oga said, is lack of market for products from Jatropha; adding that by the time the refinery starts next year, people would want to hijack it because, Jatropha farming will become money spinner.
The JaGPEAN President, North Central, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Dimeji said that Jatropha as a crop does not want to look at a land that is so fertile, so long it can germinate and after the period of gestation, it grows for 50 years and gives yearly yield.
Dimeji, who was a former Director of Sports Kogi state, said that, “the domestic market alone, if Nigeria can get it organized, can feed you and make you a millionaire. Rather than say I want to have oil and export it to China or Europe, or USA. Just get your farmers into cooperatives and you put them through the empowerment scheme, they will have the benefit of what they should get.”
He lamented that government, over the years, has showed no commitment and support for Jatropha farming, because it is not edible, explaining that it is an emerging plant with lots of value chain.
He said, “unfortunately, if you look at the ministry of agriculture today, Jatropha is not a product along other value chain crops. But to tell you the truth, the only time it can work is when government decides to put it just along other crops like cashew, cocoa, beans rice, they are all in the value chain.
“Because, Jatropha is an emerging crop, you go to financial institutions and you do all your jargon; and at the end of the day, they will tell you that this is an emerging crop.
“It is not edible, so, you can see the consequences of it. If it were an edible, definitely it would have moved itself naturally. Hence you need an extra effort and interest of the government to move it in,” Dimeji said.
He said that some of the products that can be derived from Jatropha by-products include soap, candle and Vaseline.
“Let us not even talk of kerozene or petrol that is on the more technical side, the oil itself is medicated naturally. The shaft of the Jatropha, the pressed cake is organic in fertilizer if you get the proper combination, because it is very rich in nitrogen. At the University of Ilorin, they use it for ceiling board, it is eco-friendly.
“Why we are failing always is that we are not always looking at the basics, we are always looking at the ones that can give us billions of naira. So everybody want to hear somebody stand here and talk beautiful stories on how to export to make dollars and that is why we are not getting there” Dimeji stated.
He said that his target is to see that there is enough Jatropha plantation in the country, “it is when I have enough plantation that I will become your hot cake.”
The President General of JaGPEAN, Maj. Gen. J. Omosebi said that the association is making efforts to provide all the necessary support needed by Jatropha farmers, so that the 2.4 million liters required by the Federal Government as 20 per cent bio-diesel content of the nation’s oil change needs can be produced locally by 2020.
He said,”Currently, the diesel being consumed in the country is about 12 million liters, 20 percent of it is about 2.4 million liters which will be required by Nigerians assuming that the rate of consumption is the same.
“The bio-diesel we are talking about is oil and the waste is cake which can be used for organic fertilizer, which can be used to improve farm crop yield and also facilitate or reduce significantly the importation of in-organic fertilizer.
“So, Jatropha is the winner crop because it will provide the oil for blending in line with the international standard and at the same time avail the opportunity for us to produce organic fertilizer locally to meet the desires and demands of the farmers.”
He was optimistic that despite the fact 2020 is just three years away, the plans on the ground can beat the deadline, as the Federal government has appended its signature on the Paris agreement on Climate change, which is the blue print for the inclusion of 20 per cent of bio-fuel in exchange for fossil fuel.
According to Omosebi, the Jatropha farming project will contribute immensely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as it will trigger a lot of value chain activities.
“The Jatropha oil is not only for bio-diesel, it is medicinal, it is used for soap, it is used for so many things, even the leaves are for medicinal purposes. There are arrays of opportunities that you can get out of it.
“Now, that the country depends on in organic fertilizer imported from foreign countries, if we have this programme fully implemented, we shall be selling fertilizers to other countries. Even right now that organic fertilizer is selling for N2,500 per 50Kg; whereas, inorganic fertilizer, even with the subsidy of government, is about N5,000 to N6,000 and the land is more tolerant with organic fertilizer”.
One of the participants and member of the Federal Government’s Technical Steering Committee on Bio-fuel Policy in Nigeria, anchored by the Petroleum Product Prizing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mrs. Grace Ogolo, said that government was committed to ensuring that the 20 per cent bio-diesel content is embedded into the energy needs of the country before 2020.
Ogolo, a retired director in Renewable Energy, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, dismissed the insinuation that government would prefer the importation of bio-fuel against local manufacture, adding that the current management of PPPRA has shown strong commitment to ensure that the policy comes to fruition.
According to her, “Jatropha is one of the agricultural crops that Nigeria has identified for bio-fuel production in particular bio-diesel. This committee is about empowering local production. We are against exporting.” She said.
Ogolo emphasized that the committee is meeting and will ensure that any effort to frustrate the localization of the policy will be resisted.
She said, “You know the Nigerian factor, people will like to take the easier way out, so the present committee that is working on bio-fuel policy is in support of doing it internally instead of importing the product into the country.
“Right now we are putting on the strategies that can move this industry forward. The NNPC and the Renewal Energy Division and PPPRA have a lot of role to play. And hopefully, it will not be like every other policy in this country. They will be sincere to doing the right thing.”
She said that the policy would increase youth employment, women engagement; who are the hub of agriculture, and it would also improve the economy; as bio-fuel would be a foreign exchange earner.
She said It will also be used to generate electricity for family consumption, as well as address the climate change challenge, adding that green energy is the standard thing all over the world.
Myke Uzendu, Abuja