Following the United Nations Convention on Climate Change which makes it mandatory for every country to change 20 per cent of its energy needs from fossil fuel to bio-fuel, the Jatropha Growers Processors and Export Association of Nigeria (JaGPEAN) has said that it is ready to supply 20 perecent bio-diesel by 2020.
The group is also optimistic that the plans by Europe and America to eliminate fossil fuel driving vehicles and close down all companies running on fossil fuel will be a blessing as the group has strategied to expand its Jatropha farms across the country and has also made plans to assess high yielding seedlings from research institutes in the country and abroad,
This development was disclosed by the President of the Association, Gen, J Omosebi (rtd) on Wednesday in Abuja during a national stakeholders meeting of the association.
Omosebi said following the directives from the Federal government that the Nigerian fuel should be blended 20 percent Bio-diesel, the association has commenced massive mobilization of all growers of Jatropha which is the major raw material for bio-diesel and is also working in partnership with research institutions and government agencies like Federal Ministry of Environment, Univesity of Ilorin, Raw Material Research and Development Agency (RMRDA), Agricultural Research Insistute Jos with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure that the farmers have access to the improved seedlings and the needed funding to ensure that they meet up with the demand.
He said, “Last year, we had an international conference, anchored by the Federal Ministry of Environment on how to produce bio-diesel for blending in line with Federal government commitment that by 2020, the Nigerian bio-fuel should be 20 percent bio-diesel.
He also said that awareness creation on the importance of the Jatropha farming and the many products that could be explored from the product has received little or no attention as much support is yet to be assessed in that area. He also added that little efforts has been made to support government with funding so as to expand their jatropha farms to ensure that there is adequate raw material for the transition.
He said, “As at present, the diesel being consumed in the country is about 12million, 20percent of it is about 12.4 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 winning 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 stated that despite the fact 2020 is just three years away, it is still possible to beat the deadline as Federal government has appended its signature on the Paris agreement on Climate change which is the blue print for the inclusion of 20 percent of bio-fuel in exchange for fossil fuel.
He said that so many farmers are already into the cultivation of Jatropha, adding that what is required is increase in capacity and farmland as well as improved seedling.
Omosebi also urged all the zonal chairman to ensure that they have about 100 coperatives in their kitty and prepare to for massive jatropha farming before late comers that will rush in when govenment begins the implementation of the 20 percent bio-diesel content.
Myke Uzendu, Abuja