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Promotion of Small-scale biofuel production and use in Honduras (GOTA VERDE)

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In this 3 year project a consortium of organisations from Europe and Honduras developed and tested an integrated regional economic development approach based on the promotion of small-scale production and local use of biofuels in Honduras. The final goal is to provide important new income and employment opportunities to the disadvantaged (mainly rural) population in Northern Honduras (Yoro region). The project focused on the transfer of appropriate technical know-how in the area of agricultural production of oil yielding crops, agro-industrial (biofuel) processing and the adaptation of diesel engines to pure plant oil (PPO), as well as the introduction of innovative financial and commercial mechanisms that increase the impact and sustainability of the action. Although the project concentrated its capacity building efforts in northern Honduras, it also made an important contribution to the dissemination of the technologies and development models to other countries in Central America.

Results

  • Establishment of almost 600 ha of oil yielding crops, of which 373 ha permanent Jatropha plantations, and improved knowledge about the cultivation techniques of these crops (including i.e. sunflower, soy bean, and sesame).
  • Installation and operation of a low-tech and mainly locally built biofuel processing facility, including dehullers, presses, a biodiesel processor and storage facilities.
  • The creation of the biofuel processing enterprise BYSA (Biocombustibles de Yoro Sociedad Anonima), which is owned for 49% by 196 oil crop producing farmers and 51% by FUNDER (Foundation for Rural Enterprise Development).
  • Capacity building of local car mechanics in the adaptation of diesel engines to the use of pure plant oil (PPO). In total six engines were adapted.
  • Establishment of a local currency (called Peces, “fishes”) that is emitted by BYSA and backed by its biofuel inventory. In total more than 100 000 Peces were emitted in 2009 and 26 local businesses accepted them.
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Lessons learned

  • The main lesson is that the creation of a fully sustainable biofuel chain, based (mainly) on jatropha, takes at least 5-6 years. Main reason is the low productivity of Jatropha during its first years. Other reasons are: time needed to train local technicians (agronomists, car mechanics, etc) and to convince potential clients of the safety of the biofuels. It is possible, when improved jatropha cultivars are developed and biofuels will become more mainstream, this time span can be shortened.
  • Small farmers generally have short horizons. A short-term benefit is needed to keep small farmers motivated to maintain the jatropha plantations. Providing support for the establishment of short-cycle intercrops (preferably oil crops) has proven to be a good strategy: farmers maintain and fertilize the areas between the Jatropha rows that are used for intercrops.
  • In the agricultural component many lessons were learnt about appropriate cultivation techniques, especially for jatropha in the area of site selection, soil preparation, pruning and intercropping. The results of these lessons are incorporated in a jatropha manual elaborated by the project. A more comprehensive manual, that also includes the lessons form other projects, is elaborated by Co-beneficiary FACT Foundation. Last updated: 10.08.2010
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

Stichting STRO
Netherlands
Contact point: 
Name: 
Peter Moers
Tel: 
0031 30 231 4314

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In brief

Duration:
01/01/2007 to 31/12/2009
Contract number: 
EICOO/EIE/06/277/2006