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Tanzanian sustainable biofuel production gets support

The Shell Foundation and DOEN Foundation are supporting Diligent Energy Systems, a Dutch company from Eindhoven that has expansion plans for sustainable biofuel production from the tropical plant Jatropha in Tanzania.
The support to Diligent will strengthen its work in promoting Jatropha among farmers. The Shell Foundation has invested $250,000 (€157,000) and business support, if required, while the DOEN Foundation has invested €50,000, and a loan of €200,000.

Since 2005 Diligent has pioneered a business model in which small Tanzanian farmers grow the Jatropha plant in hedges around their field, or in rows between food crops.

The farmers sell their seeds to Diligent in exchange for farming support and a guaranteed minimum price for at least 10 years ahead. Diligent processes these seeds into biofuel, which is used by upmarket safari companies, airplane manufacturers (for testing purposes), as well as other environmentally-aware large-scale fuel consumers.

Diligent has contracts with about 800 farmers who have combined planted around 2,000 hectares of Jatropha. Diligent plans to expand this to about 10,000 hectares a over the next two years.

Additional information: Dilligent
News date: 03/07/2008

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