EU launches £2m Jatropha project in Ghana

The European Union has launched a £2 million Jatropha project in Walewale in the West Mamprusi District aimed at increasing the energy demand of the country through the production of bio-energy.

The project which has a five-year duration would use infertile lands in the area for the cultivation of the Jatropha plant and process the seeds to obtain crude oil and its by-products.

Professor Giuseppe Enne, Project Co-ordinator of the Ghana Jatropha Project and of the Nuclea Ricerca Desertificatione of Sassari University of Italy, said the project would develop and construct an appropriate and cost-effective expeller for Jatropha oil extraction.

The project was launched on Wednesday on the theme: “Use of Jatropha plant to improve sustainable renewable energy development and create income-generating activities: an integrated approach to ensure sustainable livelihood conditions and mitigate land degradation effects in rural areas of Ghana.”

The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Technology Consultancy Centre of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and New Energy, a non-governmental organisation.

Prof Enne said the project would also develop income-generating activities from the marketing of the primary and secondary products of Jatropha and the setting up of community based organisations and micro-enterprises to reduce poverty.

He said the project would also realise direct desertification mitigation actions in the target areas by using drought resistant species with a high market value.

Mr San Nasamu Asabigi, Deputy Northern Regional Minister said jatropha could be an alternative to reduce the energy crisis facing the country, adding that “about 69 per cent of the total energy consumed in Ghana is from the already depleted forest, 10 per cent from electricity and 21 from imported petroleum”.

He commended the European Commission for its continuous support to Ghana targeted at the sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.

Mr Sulley Abudu Zakaria, District Chief Executive said the project would help create income for the people and mitigate land degradation.

He said it would also complement efforts at addressing the effects of climate change.

Source: GNA

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