corn_ethanol1Production of bio-fuel from crops will boost farm produce, the Director, Africa Region Cassava Adding Value to Africa (CAVA), Dr Kola Adebayo, has said.

He said apart from increasing domestic energy supply, bio-fuels production would induce many farmers to expand their acreage and provide a ready market to farmers to sell their agricultural waste to biomass power plants.

This is because the operators of biomass plants will utilise a wide range of feedstock including agricultural residues, saying the primary feedstock come from rice crop; residues such as rice husk and rice straw, as well as woodchips.

He said farmers will be encouraged to prepare their trash to be gathered as biomass feedstock, adding that there are resources, particularly residues from forests, wood processing and agriculture which biomass industries can use to produce electricity that will cater to the needs of the industries, in both urban and rural communities. He said this would provide an opportunity for local farmers to make money.

Urging the government to encourage more biomass-based projects by introducing a number of policies and schemes to boost the industry, Adebayo said biomass projects are part of an initiative to meet the clean energy needs and reduce chronic power shortages and carbon emissions.

He urged the government to introduce industry-friendly policies, such as feed-in tariff policy to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies by offering long-term contracts to renewable energy producers based on the cost of generation of each technology.

He implored the government to provide project developers with investment incentives, guaranteed minimum prices, power purchase agreements with the utility grid, exemptions pertaining to the import of equipment and certain tax credits.

Adebayo said there would be challenges associated with meeting feedstock demand, and in some cases, overcoming technical impediments to efficient energy production, adding that there is the challenge of educating and organising the farming community to collect the biomass.

He said this will be as a result of a general lack of understanding of the fundamental drivers of the industry’s economic viability, which increases the perceived level of risk.


Information from The Nation was used in this report.