Regional News Mon, 19 Jun 2006

Obuasi Municipal Assembly initiates programme to cultivate Jathropha

Obuasi, June 19, GNA - Obuasi Municipal Assembly (OMA) has demonstrated its commitment to the initiative of the management of AngloGold Ashanti to undertake large-scale cultivation of Jathropha (Nkranyedua) for the production of bio-diesel in the country.

Alhaji Zibrim Yakubu, Municipal Co-ordinating Director at a maiden meeting on the project with officials of AngloGold Ashanti and bio-diesel experts held at Obuasi, said the assembly would participate in the project and collaborate with AngloGold Ashanti to promote the cultivation of Jathropha within the municipality.

"The assembly's vision is to actually co-operate with AngloGold Ashanti and see how to mobilize the unemployed youth to participate in the project so that we become the icon in generating diesel for the country," he stressed.

Alhaji Yakubu said Jathropha cultivation was an avenue to generate income and in addition to the assembly, "going on board as a farmer"; it would encourage individuals to participate in the project.

The Municipal Co-ordinating Director declared, "The assembly is committed to this project and would put valuable resources into it." Mr Kofi Marfo, Managing Director of Bio-diesel Ghana Limited, who explained the processes of extracting bio-diesel from Jathropha and benefits of the project, said they had gone beyond speculations and in reality bio-diesel had been produced from Jathropha seeds. Excited about the job creation opportunities inherited in the project, he gave the assurance that marketing of the seeds was not a problem.

"As far as marketing is concerned, we will guarantee that every Jathropha seed produced would be purchased," he assured. Mr Marfo however, advised the public against compromising food production with the interest in Jathropha project. "My fear is that people will not cut down their cocoa trees to grow Jathropha," he added.

Mr George Sey-Haizel, Business Manager, Subsidiaries Business Unit of AngloGold Ashanti, announced that management had made available 2,000 hectares for the project.

He said AngloGold Ashanti was ready to offer technical support to encourage individuals to participate in the project. Mr Sey-Haizel said the idea was to assist people in the area to move away from the perception that without working with the company, one could not make a living.

Source: GNA