Biofuels production has the potential to boost economic growth in Africa, according to Giovanni Venturini, a partner at Agroils Srl.
“[The] bio industry can represent a real opportunity for growth today, especially in the rural areas, which are often abandoned for the cities,” Venturini told How we made it in Africa in a recent interview.
Agroils is an Italian biofuels consulting and developing company. The firm has a specific focus on exploiting the potential of the Jatropha curcas shrub.
When jatropha seeds are crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel that can be used in a standard diesel car.
Venturini says the biofuels industry suffered over the last two years because of the low price of fossil fuels. “Now the price is steadily going up . . . so biofuels are attracting interest again,” he explains.
According to Venturini, one of the major challenges facing agribusiness companies in Africa is the lack of investment into the sector, although the situation is improving. “Luckily we are observing a change of interest for agricultural projects – from a mere speculative and financial interest to a long-term industrial perspective,” he says.