Uganda to get quality biodiesel

Apr 01, 2013 12:00 AM

Fossil fuels account for 95% energy usage globally and also for 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.

A private Firm African Power Initiative Limited (API) recently announced its plans and commitment to start mass production of bio diesel in Uganda with a capacity of more than 4000 litres. East African Business Week's Eriosi Nantaba talked to Marcos Bitew the CEO of African Power Initiative (API) about the firm's commitment and capacity. Below are the excerpts.

Can Ugandans be assured of using biodiesel by April this year?

We have already installed our first biodiesel plant in Uganda. We plan to ramp up production from a few hundred liters a day to a projected 4,000 liters, moving to a full design capacity of 60,000 liters as more oil seed stock becomes available.

The mini refinery in Kampala will produce 4,000 liters per day given the sustained supply of seeds from the company farm in Karamoja and through the out growers scheme.

We acquired 20000 acres of land for own farm and growing of Jatropha, castor nut and croton in Karamoja region (North Western Uganda). The greatest challenge that was delaying production was insufficient supply of seed stock which we have tried to cover with such huge farms.

How will the project mitigate the priority by farmers to grow non food oil crops and food crops?

Most farmers plant candle nut trees and Jatropha at the edges of the gardens and animal farms or ranches. They also plant them as sheds in compounds. This creates an allowance for the growth of food crops by farmers while earning money from the non food oil crops.

What criterion is used in selecting out grower farmers and how do they access seeds?

Field presentations and recruitment are based on mouth to mouth. Information about the farmers, household, land ownership and size among other factors is sought after which an agreement is signed where the farmer agrees to intercrop for continued food supply.

How are you prepared to ensure sufficient and sustained supply of biodiesel?

We are certain that the planted trees on the 20,000 acres of land coupled with supply from out growers can sustain supply to the ready market.

Secondly the out growers' scheme continues to grow with more farmers coming on board therefore supply is destined to succeed.

How about standards and quality assurance for the bio diesel?

Standards for bio diesel have already been endorsed. This creates parameters under which the product will be perfected to quality.

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