By Funmi Olasupo

ABUJA – THE Federal Government to introduce a plant called Jatropha as successful viable green alternative to fossil fuels that will combat desertification and reduce green house gas emission.

Speaking at the‘Environmental Dialogue’, with theme, ‘Diversification of the Economy – The Role of Jatropha’, in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, maintained that the world is gradually drifting away from the use of fossil fuel in order to cut down emissions and Nigeria cannot afford to be exempted.

Considering the environmental challenges identified by the administration, the Minister stated that there was no doubt that the consideration of Jatropha plant could be a leeway out of the challenges while strategising and looking towards providing alternative renewable sources of energy,

The Ministry, according to her, would be working within the framework that is being set by the Ministry of Agriculture for the diversification of the economy and will serve as a great opportunity to empower the people, take urgent climate change action and protect the environment.

“We are going to reduce emissions, reclaim our desert and by adding value, we can choose a number of trees and shrubs that we can do that with and we also want to see the economic value in it by giving jobs and gets into a value chain that can produce returns for those who have a job,” she said.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, had told journalists that the project would also provide additional means of livelihoods for local communities that are losing ground water and vegetation due to deforestation.

Jibril said “The approach will lead to rapid creation of a new green economy in the rural areas thereby creating jobs and wealth from the cultivation of Jatropha and its value chain.

“It will be recall that Jatropha was identified by the Nigerian bio-fuel policy and incentives in 2007 as the most preferred non-food plant for bio-fuel feedstock for production in the country.”

He also noted that Jatropha has potentials to impact on the five-key elements of the COP 21 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, and that the result would lead to establishment of African clean energy hub in Nigeria.

“The project was proposed with the support of local and international experts to ensure that it met international sustainability protocols therefore, it success largely depended on the support of federal and state governments.”

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