THE Federal Government has announced that with the discovery of a Jatropha plant in Nigeria, as a viable green alternative to fossil fuels in the country, the government would now be able to provide an additional means of livelihood for local communities that were losing ground water and vegetation every year due to desertification.
This project, according to the Federal Government, if it works out as planned, would create an avenue for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through empowering people, taking climate action to fight desertification, as well as reducing poverty, thus enhancing socio-economic growth across the country.
The Minister of State for Environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who made this announcement at a media dialogue in Abuja, further said the new approach would lead to rapid creation of a New Green Economy in the rural areas, thereby, creating jobs and wealth from the cultivation of Jatropha and its value chain.
He explained that the plant has been identified by the Nigerian Bio-fuel policy and incentives 2007 as the most preferred non-food plant for bio-fuel feedstock for production in the country.
According to him, “this policy as well as NNPC`s renewable energy division were set out to link the agriculture and energy sectors and promote job creation, technology acquisition attract foreign investment in the bio-fuels industry.”
He noted that the plant could be grown in all 36 states, but as a pilot project, about 12 states affected by desertification in which over 40 million people were affected would be the take off point.
Consequently, the minister said, the ministry was to embark on sustained advocacy visits to secure the commitment of the states as the approach would lead to rapid creation of a new green economy in the rural areas, thereby, creating jobs and wealth from the cultivation of Jatropha and its value chain.