Gono’s jatropha project too small to ease fuel crisis, says Mangudya

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By Staff Reporter

FORMER RBZ Governor Gideon Gono’s $3 million jatropha project’s contribution to the country’s fuel demands was too insignificant and cannot be considered as a viable solution to current fuel shortages.

This was revealed in parliament by current central bank governor John Mangudya.

Mangudya was giving oral evidence before parliament’s energy committee and was asked by committee member and Zanu PF legislator Enock Porusingazi why the project has not been used to ease current fuel shortages.

“Unfortunately, its (jatropha fuel plant) size is too insignificant to be called a white elephant. Maybe it can be called a small elephant,” Mangudya said.

“It’s such a small plant if you look at demand of fuel currently.”

Government in 2005 launched an ambitious $3 million project to grow jatropha seeds for extraction of biodiesel.

It emerged also that what remains of the ambitious project has been reduced to an experimental centre within the agriculture ministry’s technology department.

In his remarks before MPs, Mangudya said the country’s growing economy was fuelling demand for fuel.

“…The economy had been growing. That’s why the demand has been growing. We used to spend 60 million or so and now we are spending 90 to 100 million litres of fuel or so per month.”

“So where is this fuel going. The fuel is going into the economy, this economy is expanding.”

Mangudya said some local firms that had shut down few years ago citing viability challenges have since reopened and now required fuel to operate.

“We have seen that most of the firms that had closed prior to 2016 have reopened. The production activity is high and you can even see for yourself that this traffic jungle which was never there in Zimbabwe before has contributed to the demand for fuel.

“…The demand is a genuine demand. It is following the economy that is expanding.”