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Potential of palm oil-based agro-diesel in Butembo region in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo


Journal of Applied Biotechnology & Bioengineering
Marjolaine Masika Mutani, Paul Katembo Vikanza, Richard Katembo Kataliko, Galilée Kambale MusavandaloMarjolaine Masika Mutani, Paul Katembo Vikanza, Richard Katembo Kataliko, Galilee Kambale Musavandalo

Abstract

Oil dependence is one of the major global energy problems exacerbating impoverishment in developing countries and especially in rural areas. This study aims to highlight the observation of this dependence for the Butembo region and envisages measures to reduce it by developing a potentially profitable sector, a hapax opportunity for the economic development of the peasantry. It deals with the use of a non-rare energy, palm oil as an alternative to diesel. With this in mind, investigations have been conducted. They took us first to the customs institutions (DGDA) to raise the import share of diesel, then to facilities that have already experimented with palm oil as a fuel and finally to large consumers of diesel in the region (industrial, fuel pumping stations and other factories) to collect their opinions on agro- energy. From the investigations carried out, it appears that in the Butembo region the import of diesel takes a heavy price annually which overlaps 40,000,000 $US for the last three years (2015-2017). The opinions of the respondents contribute to a consensus. They believe that palm oil-based agro-energy is a necessity in the region. However, this process requires technical, environmental and socio-economic prerequisites. At the technical level, the technological package must first be fully mastered and controlled to avoid the setbacks already experienced in the region. In terms of the environment, the extension of the palm grove to support agro-energy will have to be done with all caution, avoiding the generalized deforestation of forest massifs that are shrinking at the margins of the region. Similarly, this development will have to avoid producing the opposite effect of the expected results, which would consist in blocking the rise of the peasantry by large agricultural firms that crush the small family farming that is vital for the people in the study region. Well conducted, this process of adoption of agro-energy in the Butembo region can keep its promises. It raises many hopes, only preconditions remain the big challenges.

Keywords

palmoil, responsible palm oil, agrofuel, butembo region

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