SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION OF BIODIESEL IN WEST AFRICA

 
 

Through this business venture thousands of farmers in West Africa will be able to improve their living standards in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. Men and women who live and farm under difficult climatic conditions, and far from commodity markets, obtain an additional income by planting Jatropha and harvesting the nuts.


Besides the extra income generated from jatropha nut production, this initiative generates additional employment and spin-off activities, including:


  1. Direct employment for more than 60 people and indirect employment for more than 4000 farmers,impacting more than 30,000 people


  2. A state-of-the-art biodiesel processing unit in Koulikoro, Mali (fully functional since February 2008) and upscaling in 2 other regions of Mali and Burkina Faso


  3. Oil extraction from jatropha nuts near the harvesting site using mobile presses and transporting it by truck to the factory for refining, factory work and end-product distribution


  4. Selling the ‘press cake’, a by-product of oil production, to farmers for use as organic fertilizer


  5. A local  women’s cooperative is using the by-product glycerine to produce soap


  6. The develpment of small independent jatropha tree nurseries, selling the plants to farmers for intercropping or replanting jatropha hedges

 

People

Planet

MBSA is a considered response to the worldwide trend to convert biomass into fuel.


Compared to fossil fuels, biofuels are better for the environment, but only if they are produced in a sustainable way (see article).


This initiative is about generating biofuels from plants that are harvested on kilometres of land stretching along the roadside – or by integrating Jatropha in existing farming systems meanwhile ensuring food security.


Jatropha intercropping helps farmers to enter into more sustainable agrofestry system. It reduces soil erosion and increases yields with over 20% over a 5-year period (link to article).


Jatropha is resistant to drought and grows on land where other crops fail. However yields of Jatropha nuts is also very low, around 1 ton per ha. Our current research activities aim to increase this yield to 2 ton per ha.


Jatropha plants reduce CO2 emisions and this contributes to reducing climate change. MBSA works with various partners on a pro-poor carbon offset program.

Profit

MBSA sells biodiesel at a lower price than imported fossil fuel.


MBSA is a private company. Farmers benefit directly from the extra income they generate through the sale of the nuts they harvest. The additional income for smallholders is estimated at 1250 FCFA/day (€1,90/day) compared to current alternative sources of income of maximum €1,15/day.


In addition, the farmers’ union, l’Union locale des Sociétés Coopératives de Producteurs de Pourghère (ULSPP), which represents the jatropha farmers, has a 20% stake in Mali Biocarburant SA and will therefore benefit from eventual profits (dividends) and growth in share value.