Mozambique: Producers test Jatropha species

2 April 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 2 April – Ninety-six varieties of Jatropha are being tested in the region of Socera in Manica province, for subsequent propagation and distribution in the context of protecting this crop for the production of biofuels, according to the newspaper, Noticias, in Maputo.

The initiative came from SunBiofuels, a British-owned company operating in the country since 2006 when it bought the facilities of former tobacco company, Alliance One, in Chimoio.

As part of the same research, SunBiofuels is looking to import some non-toxic varieties of Jatropha from Mexico, which could be cultivated near other crops, especially food crops.

SunBiofuels, in its germplasm laboratories, is already doing trials of jatropha with other crops, while it awaits authorization from the relevant authorities to begin cultivation on agricultural land, says the newspaper.

The experiments, according to Sérgio Gouveia, a company representative in Maputo, are above all aimed at developing a crop that does not damage others, particularly food crops and, at the same time, finding varieties which adapt to the country’s agro-ecological conditions.

One aim is to find non-toxic varieties, the husks of which could have other, non-biofuel related uses.

It is within the framework of these trials that the company hopes to cultivate 4000 hectares of Jatropha over the next 18 months, hoping for 5 tonnes of seed per hectare.

SunBiofuels, which is supported and funded by EEA Fund Management of London, has already created 550 jobs for the local community with its Chimoio project. (macauhub)