A two million-euro jatropha project to produce bio-energy at Walewale in the northern part of Ghana has been launched by the European Unio n in the area.
The five-year project would use unfertile lands in the area to cultivate jatroph a plants and process the seeds to obtain crude oil and its by-products.
Professor Giuseppe Enne, Project Coordinator of the Ghana Jatropha Project and t he Nuclea Ricerca Desertification of Sassari University of Italy, announced Thur s day that an appropriate and cost-effective expeller for Jatropha oil extraction w ould be constructed.
The project aims also to improve Ghana’s sustainable renewable energy, to create income-generating activities and to mitigate land degradation effects in rural a reas in the country.
Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Food and Agr iculture, Technology Consultancy Centre of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Scien c e and Technology and New Energy, a non-governmental organization, are collaborat i ng to ensure successful implementation of the project.
Enne said the project would develop the marketing of primary and secondary produ cts of jatropha and the setting up of community-based organisations and micro-en t erprises to reduce poverty.
In addition, he said, the project would realise direct desertification mitigatio n actions in the target areas by using drought resistant species with a high mar k et value.
Mr. San Nasamu Asabigi, Deputy Northern Regional Minister said jatropha could be an alternative to reduce the energy crisis facing the country.
“About 69 per cent of the total energy consumed in Ghana is from the already dep leted forest, 10 per cent from electricity and 21 from imported petroleum”.