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Energy

Biofuel helps Benin produce food

In Benin, women traditionally harvest and process many of the country's food products. They can now do that much faster thanks to biofuel from the jatropha plant and self-established cooperatives.

Project goal: Providing energy through biofuel to the rural population
Project size: 35 facilities to process food in 8 villages, 70 jobs created
Project scale: 4,200,000 euros
Project status: Starting 2014, the facilities are to be operated independently without outside help

Some 70 percent of the population of the western African country of Benin live in the countryside, most without access to electricity. The French organization Geres is working on providing the region with its own energy. That involves turning the jatropha plant into biodiesel. It's considered a visionary project in Benin because it's mainly directed at women who traditionally do the job of harvesting and processing food products. Geres wants to limit jatropha cultivation to the needs of the rural population. Jatropha exports are banned, thereby ensuring that the toxic plant doesn't pose competition to the cultivation of food crops.

A film by Bettina Thoma

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