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WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2011

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Exploring wealth creating potential of jatropha

*IGlaira I Segins with

I ~mall Kobo Everest Amaefule AVE you ever imagined being part of the . supply chain of petroleum products? The' Fast Moving Consumer Good component guarantee cash at all times because of high demand for the products. Perhaps. because of the financial ancl regulatory demands required ' in marketing petroleum products (not hawking) , one may have h'a d to shelve the idea. But;current development trends seem to be saying, the re is no need for such a person to brood ~ver that. Generally, the use of fossil fuel or petrp le um products is being de-emphasised globally. In their place. there is an increasing

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emphasis on bio-fuel.

Jatropha. popularly called /apa/apa. is one of the crops that can be planted for its high oil co ntent, and ex perts ' opinion is that if large

volume of the crop is planted in the country, it can give the

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nation enough capacity in the production of viable alternative

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plant one hectare of land and the cost of one kilo d seecls is between N950 and Nl.OOO."

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The major requirement is securi ng a good quantity of lun:J However, any land can do since jatropha can do we ll ( I ll '3,(1d

to fossil fuel.

'Jatropha has good commercial value as fuel • its plant can grow on marginal

Given its po tential. the Raw Materials- Research and

Develdpmen t Council has been promoting a number of collaboration aimed at increasin g lh e comm ercial viability of

jatropha in the country. In order to promote the piant's availability. the

agency

distributed the to farmers

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Waste from plant has medicinal

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and economic value Nursery seedling produces better results

recen U),

seeds and

stakeholders, w ho were _ keen on increasing their

" stake on the crop. The cOllncil also has collaboration with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi , and o ther ' firm s towards establishing a bio-fuel processing plant and a 1,000 hectare plantation of jatropha 10 make a success of the development. ." ~ Director-General, RJltIRDC, Prof. Peter Onwualu, believes that if sta keholders collaborate in planting and promoting jatropha, it would contribute enormously towards eradicating poverty in the la nd. He says, "We have a number of collaborations with different institutions. The one with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi , is on jatropha." The RJltIRDC boss further explains that the agro raw materials boosting programme o f th e council is an interve ntion

.package to promote the use of improved seeds and seedling to boost the production of selected agro raw materials to bridge or reduce gaps between raw materials demand and supply.

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that has been confirmed infert ile. Financial requ! '€i11ent is minima.! as th e seeds arE i ne:~pe nsi'Je . While jatropha can be pl anted directly or through nurserv. Ajayi says the nurse ry me thod is prefe rab le.

He explains, "Through practice. it t\)a5 discovered thal nursery planting was better than clirecting plactin(; because it assures 100 per cent germ inati on. But nursery seedlings are not available. direct planting is preferable to cutting of branches to plant. "By direct planting, you pour ~~lOur seeds in to w a ter to see

which of the seeds that sinks and the ones that float. Sinking

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"Jatropha, Moringa, sorghum and sugar cane are excellent energy crops for bio-diesel production. Countries, such as Brazil ,Malaysia and India are taking advantage of the current global shift from fossil fuel to bio-fuel," he adds. According to the Jatropha Productivity Stakeholders Association of Nigeria, the beauty of jatropha is that it is drought-resistant and can thrive on marginal or poor lands. Its waste also has the capacity to ..eclaim waste land because of its high organic fertiliser content. President of the association, Chief Bayo Ajayi, says it is easy to establish a plantation of jatropha, and once it is done, it grows relatively faster a nd can start producing seeds within one year, adding that it also continues to produce seeds for over 50 years. This makes it a constant source income earning. Ajayi says, "After preparation of the land, jatropha is planted in two metres or three metres spacing. For two-metre

spacing, a hectare of land can take between 2,500 and 3,000 seeds. For three-metre spacing, a hectare of land can take between 1,500 and 2,000 seeds of jatropha. "About two kilogrammes of jatropha seeds are required to

seeds are more viable

than the ones that float." Experts in ja tropha say the plant produces seeds with an c-iI content of 37 per cent. At this rate, one hectare of land planted with jatropha can produce about 300 gallons of oil. JASPAN describes jatropha oil as efficient, clear and cheaper source

of energy. "It burns with resident, Nigerian clear smoke-free flam e Association ofSmall and Medium and as fuel for simple Enterprises, Dr. Ike Abugu diesel engines, ,. JASPAN adds . Apart from oil extracted from the jatropha seed, by-products include glycerin , insecticide, and organic rertiliser.

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After the extraction of oil, the waste from the seed is also used in the pharmaceutical industry on formulations for the treatment of cancer, piles, snake bite and

paralysis. The waste can also be used to reclaim wasteland, thereby IiE National Automotive Council has signed an MoU with the Small and were tested to certify that they met compulsory standards as well as the serving as an antidote to dessert Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria for the establishment facilitation of access of Medium , Small and Medium Enterprises to the encroachment and soil erosion . of an automotive test centre. benefits of the programme. Given the potential of jatropha, A statement by the Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, SMEDAN, Mr. It said the test was also to promote appropriate automotive , JASPAN says it is a crop that can Levi Anyikwa, on Tuesday in Abuja said the Industrial Development Centre entrepreneurial and other vocational skills. be harnessed individually and It said under the agreement, SMEDAN would provide a porlion of collectively to create millions of job, would serve as a take-off point for the centre. The Director-General of NAC, Mr. Aminu Jalal, signed on behalf of his the land required for the project, while both SMEDAN and NAC would generate income, alleviate poverty and put the economy of the nation organisation, while the Director-General of SMEDAN , Mr. Mohammed Umar, carry out sensitisation and assessment of MSMEs in the automotive on the path of revival and sustainable signed for his agency. L-__T _h_e__st_a_~_m _e_n_t_e_x~p_la_i_n_ed__t_ ha_t_t_h_e~p~a_r_m_e_r_sh_i~p_w _a_s__to__e_ns_u_r_e _th __ at_v_e_h_i_c1_e_s ___ su_b_-_ se_c_ro_r_.__________________________________________~ growth .

SMEDAN, NAC sign MoU to establish automotive test centre

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THE PUNCH, 11 MAY, 2011  

Exploring wealth creating potential of jatropha