‘Zim sitting on 130 tonnes of jatropha seed‘


ZIMBABWE has stockpiled over 130 tonnes of jatropha seeds for biodiesel production, but cannot commercialise the product due to lack of funding to blend the fuel for public consumption, Parliament was told yesterday.



Ishmael Machiya, the director of Finealt Engineering, a government-owned company in charge of the project made the disclosures, while addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology Development.

Machiya said so far, they had in excess of 30 000 litres of produced diesel awaiting blending for public usage and 100 tonnes of jatropha still to be processed.

“We want to have a fuel station, the idea is to sell this biodiesel after blending. We have a licence to sell this diesel at B5 level, which is 5% being biodiesel, while the remainder being mineral diesel. The challenge that arises is where do were getting funding for the 95% of the mineral diesel? While we got a licence to sell this, we have a serious challenge of getting funding for blending and sell our product,” he said.

The project, which was once touted as the panacea to the country’s fuel woes, was initially expected to roll out in 2007, but has remained in the pipeline amid reports that it requires at least $11,7 million to start running.

The committee heard that Mudzi Rural District Council had allocated 6 000 hectares for jatropha production.

Biofuel production has been linked to numerous environmental and socio-impacts such as atmospheric pollutant emissions, increased water use, water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, income/employment generation, energy security, food security, human health and social conflicts.

Brazil is often cited as the only country in the world where biofuel use has significantly boosted energy security.

Also appearing before the same committee was Pedzisai Tapfumaneyi, the acting chief executive officer for Verify Engineering — a State-owned firm that seeks to produce fuel and other petroleum products from coal.

The plant will encompass three 200mb tanks that trap oxygen from the open surface. They have an estimated capacity to produce over 16 tonnes of oxygen per day.

Currently, Verify is installing an accenting plant that would also be jointly used with the oxygen line to produce fuel from coal, which is the core purpose of the project.


  1. But 130 tonnes is like four 30 tonne trucks! That’s such a small amount its insignificant, even if it where used today it would have no impact at all on the Country

  2. Ncube, did you want to say ‘a man sitting on 130 tonnes of Jatropha’? That volume is too little to pronounce at economy level. You can talk of $15 billion worth of diamonds.

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