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    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Saturday, November 22, 2003

Nigeria's ambitious cassava program: $5bn targeted from exports

Nigeria hopes to generate $5 billion in revenue annually, from the export of cassava and related products, President Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

Obasanjo, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at the start of the second Agricultural Summit hosted by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) said the Federal Government was targeting between seven and 10 per cent sustained growth rate annually in the agricultural sector in order to ensure long-term food security and alleviation of poverty.

The president, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Bamidele Dada, said two delegations of the Federal Government led by Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Presidential Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture and the Minister of State of agriculture were in Brazil, Columbia, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries respectively to explore the market opportunities for the export of cassava.

He said the visits proved that there were a lot of prospects to achieve the target as the private sectors in the countries visited expressed interest to buy cassava from Nigeria.

"Right now Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava tubers. We produce about 35 - 40 million metric tones of cassava annually and we have instructions that within the next three years we could increase the production to 150 million metric tones of cassava, "Bamidele later told THISDAY.

He said cassava had become an important product world wide especially in developed countries where it is used for poultry feeds. "If we are able to access the export market to produce cassava pillets, cassava chips of the world market quality, we can start to earn part of this projected amount," Bamidele stated.

He said the visits to Denmark, Sweden, UK and Netherlands revealed that there were tremendous potentials for the use of cassava for industrial starch, livestock feeds, production of ethanol and some derivatives for pharmaceuticals.

"What we need to do is to establish appropriate agro- industries to make use of these cassava raw tubers which we are producing so that we can export these products as import substitutes then we will be able to meet the needs of other African countries as well as European and other developed countries. So, within the next five to 10 years we will start realising these targets," he emphasised.

Bamidele disclosed that during the tour, a number of equipment producers expressed interest to visit Nigeria and partner with the country's entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities in the agricultural sector, especially in the processing of cassava.

Obasanjo said the blue print for agricultural development recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was intended to boost food production and alleviate poverty. He added that the launching of the National Agricultural Development Fund with an initial take-off fund of N10 billion was one of the measures put in place to increase food production.

He said the sector will also benefit from 25 per cent of the Sugar Development levy and one percent of tax accruing to the Federal Government from the sale of petroleum products as well as the dedication of 16 per cent of national capital budget to agriculture as part of the measures to ensure the financing needs of the sector were met.

The president announced that Nigeria had entered into an agreement with China to provide technicians to help the country's farmers. Already, the first batch of the technicians had arrived the country and redeployed to the states to help farmers in the field. He said the last batch of 500 technicians will arrive the country by March next year.

"Agriculture remains a potent tool with which the twin goals of poverty reduction and food security can be achieved in the short term. The sector therefore has been incorporated as a major sector in fulfilling the requirements of the on -going NEPAD initiative," he told the summit attendants drawn from financial institutions, donor agencies, farmers and private investors in the sector.

Speaking on the theme of this year's summit "Competitive Agriculture: The Pathway to Economic Transformation," Chairman of the NESG, Alhaji Mohamed Hayatu-deen, said it was no longer a matter of debate that agriculture and food security were basic factors for the economic transformation of the country.

"We already know from our own history and those of developed economies that the strength, capacity and sustainability of any economy is dependent on the extent of agriculture and food security," the chairman stated. He added that the cycle of economic instability in Nigeria was directly related to what he called the continuous neglect of agriculture.

Odili News.

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