Nigeria develops national strategy on Jatropha

Nkechinyere Itodo, Abuja

Nigeria is developing a national strategy with monitoring and evaluation framework for the production, processing and marketing of the Jatropha plant.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed disclosed this in Abuja at the ongoing Environment Dailogue One, titled: ‘Diversification of the Economy – The Role of Jatropha’.

Mrs. Mohammed said the venture became necessary as the country is seeking solutions and investments that look at the various challenges affecting the country such as drought, desertification, soil erosion, flooding, among others.

 “We are in a recession, which call for us to think outside the box to find solutions and investments that looks at building a solid foundation for our future generations. These challenges have their attendant negative consequences on our environment as well as on the livelihood of our people which include insecurity, hunger, poor rural and national economy and unemployment,” she said.

Noting the current situation of climate change and the problem of the Internally Displaced Persons, Mrs. Mohammed said the country is already witnessing conflicts in the north between herdsmen and farmers, while in the Niger Delta degradation and pipeline vandalisation continue to constitute a minus to the Nigerian economy.

It is therefore in view of that, she said that the country is devising a strategy to create more jobs for its people and provide an alternative energy source to boost the economy through the exploitation of the Jatropha plant.

“The economy of the nation is facing more challenges as a result of global fall in oil price, corruption and vandalism of pipe lines and oil installations in the Niger Delta area. All these challenges if not addressed holistically now may lead to the exodus of our teeming population from their original homelands to other places which may further aggravate the present social crisis” she added.

Mrs Mohammed said that the present administration identified environmental and socio-economic challenges as crucial to sustainable development and is therefore laying a dependable foundation that will address the issues through reformation of current policies. Jatropha plant, according to her, would serve a leeway but will depend to a large extent on the outcome of the dialogue.

It is there expected that at the end of the event, all the advantages and disadvantages of Jatropha value chain would have been well articulated for the formulation of a draft national strategy that would enable government to: diversify the economy through measurable investments in climate smart agriculture, curb the restiveness in the country, empower its people especially the young people through job opportunities leading to the improvement of their livelihood and put up a strategy that would integrate Jatropha into the various afforestation programmes of the Ministry of Environment, especially the Great Green Wall.