Mozambique: Country has “great potential” to become biofuel exporter – Study

20 June 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 20 June – Mozambique has “great potential” to become a world biofuel exporter, the head of the team that drew up a report on the industry’s development in Mozambique, Edward Hoyt said in Maputo Thursday.

However, Hoyt, from company Ecoenergy, said that the authorities should take into account the distribution of land for production given the “potential conflict between energy and food.”

The document, which was presented at a two-day seminar on “National Strategy for Biofuels in Mozambique,” held in Maputo, showed that production in the country, “would be competitive,” considering “the standard in other countries,” and based on the “excellent natural conditions that are available,” as well as the “increasing growth of demand for ethanol,” and biodiesel on the international market.

According to the study, Mozambique has 27 million hectares of fertile land, 5 million of which are in production, mostly, “concentrated in high areas in the centre and north,” of the country (Inhambane, Zambezia and Niassa).

The document estimates, however that “land that is actually available for biofuel crops,” varies “between a minimum of 6.5 million hectares and a maximum of 15 million hectares.”

The authors of the study recommend that the Government of Mozambique encourage the creation of a domestic market, “generating demand for ethanol and biodiesel for transport and industrial purposes that currently use petrol and diesel,” as well as exploring “ways of binding biofuel production and exports with access to technology and investment in the context of bilateral cooperation agreements.”

The government was also advised to “promote various crops of raw materials,” for biofuel production in order to “limit the dramatic impacts of prices that would especially affect poorer people.” (macauhub)