Joining Up for Jatropha

Envergy Gambia Ltd. seeks biodiesel project participants
By Erin Voegele | January 12, 2011

Madrid-based IIMA Consultora aligned with local Gambian company WOMY in 2007 to found Envergy Gambia Ltd., to promote a jatropha-to-biodiesel project. The main objective is to increase the cultivation of jatropha in Gambia.

According to the IIMA, jatropha farming not only provides feedstock for biodiesel production, it also aids in the recovery of degraded and highly eroded soil while acting as a carbon sink. Harvesting of jatropha seeds also provides valuable employment opportunities, which are crucial to the development of West Africa.

The project is in its first phase, which has included the construction of a seedling production center that is equipped with a greenhouse that can produce an estimated 2 million seedlings per year. Currently, 114 hectares (282 acres) of jatropha are being cultivated. According to IIMA, 4 hectares of that area has been equipped with irrigation systems.

The Envergy Gambia project has been specifically designed to benefit small family farms of approximately 5 hectares. Additional support is provided to these families through micro-credit grants for women. IIMA estimates that the first phase of the project will increase jatropha cultivation to a total of 5,000 hectares while providing employment to more than 1,000 local families.

Future phases of the program will involve the installation of oil extraction equipment and a power system that will produce approximately 3.9 megawatts of electricity by burning the waste cake that results from seed crushing. Those interested in participating in the project, or developing similar initiatives, are asked to contact IIMA.

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