Zimbabwe bets on jatropha for 10 % of fuel by 2017

MIDRAND, South Africa – Zimbabwe plans to use jatropha to produce up to 10 percent of the country's fuel needs or 100 million litres of biodiesel per year by 2017, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe said on Monday.

Abisai Mushaka, the company’s biofuels programme manager, said biodiesel would then substitute 10 percent of the southern African country’s fuel imports.

"We plan to meet our 10 percent national target or roughly 100 million litres per year by 2017," Abisai Mushaka, the state-owned company’s biofuels official told a conference.

Jatropha is a non-food crop whose oil can be used to produce biodiesel. It can be grown on semi-arid land and poses less of a threat to food production than other biofuel feedstocks such as grains and vegetable oils, supporters argue.