Zimbabwe’s bio-diesel production has begun to bear fruit

Mar 13, 2008 01:00 AM

An ambitious plan by the government to venture into bio-diesel production has begun to bear fruit after the plant produced 100,000 tons of fuel. Central bank Governor Gideon Gono reported that a bio-diesel plant set up as a joint venture with a South Korean firm was now producing up to 25,000 tons of diesel per month, which could help ease the country's acute fuel shortages.
"The bio-diesel plant now produces as much as 25,000 tons of the product per month. As much as 100,000 tons of diesel are here today, perhaps a small step forward but a giant forward leap for our economy."

He said the provision of adequate diesel was at the heart of the country's success in agro reforms.
"The summer cropping programme requires no less than 100 mm litres of diesel. The bio-diesel plant will indeed underpin our agricultural recovery efforts," Gono said at the handover of farm equipment to new farmers.

Zimbabwe, like most countries in southern Africa, is largely dependent on imported petroleum products to power its industrial production and transport systems.
The bio-diesel processing plant, the first of its kind in southern Africa, has a capacity to produce between 90-100 mm litres of diesel annually, making it the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. At full capacity, the plant will meet 10 % of the country's annual diesel requirements, which translates into foreign currency savings of $ 80 mm annually.

Already, new black farmers who seized land under a controversial land reform exercise in the last eight years have put 10,000 hectares under jatropha production out of a targeted and ambitious 40,000 hectares, in a desperate bid to boost the production of bio-diesel.
Zimbabwe is grappling with a fuel crisis, with most service stations going for months without receiving deliveries of both petrol and diesel.

Source / Financial Gazette
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