By Benjamin Jumbe.
President Yoweri Museveni has welcomed a Malaysia-based group of investors who have expressed interest in introducing a new cash crop in Uganda known as ‘Jatropha’.
Speaking in a meeting with investors from Malaysia Felda Scheme Model Group at State House, Entebbe, the president expressed optimism that the new crop will promote government’s plan of achieving middle-income status among Ugandans.
Crude oil from the seeds of this flowery plant can be refined into biodiesel for the diesel fuel requirements in generators and engines.
The president observed that as Jatropha plant is a low value crop like tobacco, cotton, and sugarcane and requires large-scale cultivation to yield good profits, farmers who have small land holdings should not venture into its growing.
The Vice-President and Chief Executive of Bionas East Africa Group, Ms Adnan Ali Adikata, revealed that in five years’ time the project will be operational with its refinery able to produce 60,000 barrel of oil per day.
Jatropha, a flowering plant whose seeds are very rich in oil (40%), does well in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.