Cape Verde to research type of physic nut for biofuel production

19 November 2008

Praia, Cape Verde, 19 Nov – Cape Verde’s National Agrarian Research and Development Institute (INIDA) plans to do research into using a type of Cape Verdean physic nut for biofuel production, according to a report from cape Verdean news agency Inforpress.

“We have partners, specifically Portuguese and English ones that have already shown interest in this project,” said the minister for the Environment, Rural Development and Sea Resources, José Maria Veiga.

The aim, the minister said, was to turn Cape Verde into a supplier of seeds for this biofuel generating species, if the quality is considered to be good.

Veiga said, however, that Cape Verde would not transform its traditional cropping areas to plant physic nut, but rather would develop the species in order to produce seed for export.

Despite positive experiences with planting physic nut in the past, on the islands of Santiago and Fogo, the minister noted that the idea was currently more scientific in terms of selection and research to find a species that is better adapted and could be exported.

Some countries, such as Malawi, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico have tested biodiesel production based on the physic nut plant.

According to specialists, a physic nut plant produces an average of 3 kilograms of nuts per year and its production must be carried out in marginal land, away from food crops, as it attracts mosaic, which attacks other species of crops.

Originally from the Caribbean, the physic nut plant was taken to the rest of the world, namely Africa and Asia. By Portuguese navigators and is now in many regions, such as the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, an important tool for combating poverty. (macauhub)