Written by John Kabaka
Read 710 Times
Attempts to grow Jatropha trees in Kakamega County to produce bio-fuel products are being frustrated by a viral disease that has not been identified.
The disease affects mainly the fruits from which the fuel is extracted making them to rot.
Bukura renewable energy center which had plans to make fuel from the plant has reported the problem to the ministry of Agriculture and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) which have so far not acted.
The officer in-charge of the centre, Mr. James Onzere, has said plans to seek money from the Ministry of Energy to put up a small scale fuel extraction plant in the area have been suspended until the problem is solved.
Mr. Onzere disclosed this while briefing students from Kilimo Girls' Secondary School on what his centre was doing to encourage people to use renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossils and wood energy sources to conserve environment and heavy expenditure on imported fuel.
Jatropha is now being grown in Turkana, Baringo and Kitui without much problem an indication that the crop could be suitable for semi dry areas and not wet areas like Kakamega County, Mr. Onzere said.
The girls who had not seen the crop asked many questions on how it is grown and how oil is extracted from it to drive vehicles.
Currently , the center is growing the crop on a quarter acre piece of land as part of its efforts to find an alternative cash crop for farmers to reduce high dependence on sugarcane as a cash crop in the region.
During the tour, the students saw how cooking gas was being produced from cow dung through a biogas project, electricity from solar panels, energy saving jikos , fish ponds and a tree nursery.
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