The federal government yesterday in Abuja intensified efforts at sensitizing farmers and other Nigerians towards massive cultivation of Jatropha Curcas for bio-diesel production and processing for the country to attain energy security through optimal utilization of its numerous resources.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Ita Ewa, made the call at a workshop in Abuja to sensitise the public on the importance of encouraging bio-diesel production from jatropha curcas for use as renewable energy .
He said Nigeria had many renewable energy sources, such as “solar and small hydro power, bio-gas, wind and improved wooden stove.”
Ewa said the gap between the country’s energy need and supply was much, in addition to the associated environmental issues in the conventional sources of energy .
The minister said there was need for “effective exploitation and utilisation to harness our abundant renewable energy sources.”
He said over the years, ministries, stakeholders, had called for diversification and decentralisation of energy sources in order to ensure stable power generation in the country.
The minister said the need to improve energy supply informed the work of the Research and Development Department of the ministry to produce bio-diesel from jatropha as an alternative energy source.
Prof Abubakar Sambo, Director General of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) said because Nigeria’s oil resources were limited, there was particular urgency and need for public enlightenment to look for alternative sources.
Sambo, however, called on government at all levels, organized private sector and the general public for sustainable partnership with ECN and other agencies for Jatropha production in particular and the renewable energy sector in general.
In his keynote address, Engr. Mike Oteikwu of the Global Resources, Abuja, said Jatropha is a non-edible crop from which oil could be easily extracted, adding that it is also a good product for fertilizer.
Oteikwu, who spoke on “Soil to Wealth”, described Jatropha as a renewable source of energy that is not dangerous to human health and environment, rather, he informed that the plant pulls down dangerous carbons in several million tones.