1) Mitigating the Effects of Global Warming
Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers of grain sorghum. Approximately 5.6million hectares of grain sorghum farmland is presently under cultivation (2017 data) by small-scale peasant farmers across latitudes 7º and 14º North of the equator. At present, farmers routinely harvest the mature grains use the stalks for fencing and construction as mulch and burn off the stalks excess or simply allow them to rot in the farms. Each hectare of grain sorghum farm presently yields approximately 30 Tons of biomass after grain harvest. In total, Nigeria produces approximately 2.34 trillion tons of biomass from this commodity on annual basis. Burning and/or decomposition such biomass release billions of tons of C02 and methane into the atmosphere, increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases which produce very shocking results attributed to global warming.
Global Biofuels’ Outgrowers initiative in Nigeria, which provides for the gradual replacement of indigenous sweet sorghum with the improved variety and hybrid developed by the company in collaboration with research institutes, and having sugary juicy stalk brix, and whose bargasse or biomass is burnt under controlled conditions, is a desirable mitigant against global warming. As against biomass burning or decomposition, the juicy stalk is crushed and the sugary juice is extracted for fermentation and ethanol production. The biomass waste bagaseis burnt to generate cheap electricity. The C02 generated during the process of burning is captured and stored in a simple Carbon Capture and Storage process (CCS) to be popularised across Nigeria and the entire West African Sub-region. This technology will contribute significantly to the reduction of the carbon footprint of the sub-region.
2) Creating Wealth For The Rural Dwellers
Global Biofuels Ltd is presently working with Nigerian farmers and encouraging them to switch from the grain type to the sweet stalk sorghum varieties in an elaborate Outgrowers Scheme. The Outgrowers will by so doing, double their income as they continue to eat or sell the grain to their traditional customers, and also sell the sugary stalk to Global Biofuels. The idea, often described as a ‘waste’ to ‘wealth’ initiative will affect thousands of Global Biofuels’ Outgowers as the company expands its business to several parts of the country, making new sweet sorghum varieties available at nil cost to the farmers, and generally popularizing the production of biofuels from agricultural products not used for food. This idea is expected to lead to creation of small scale industries within and around the localities covered in support of the Small and Medium Scale (SME) policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
3) A Solution To The Niger-Delta Quagmire
Without any doubt, ‘black gold’, as crude oil is often referred to in Nigeria, has made some Nigerians very wealthy. But it has also pauperised several millions of others, and created unease and economic instability. It has even affected the rest of the world negatively. Gas associated with crude oil production is routinely flared and this creates atmospheric pollution. Similarly, pipeline ruptures and oil spillages harm aquatic cultures and agricultural farmland. This is the genesis of the tension, kidnappings, political agitation and killings that have characterised the socio-economic life of the Niger-Delta area of Nigeria, and which often shows up in crude oil price rise and spiralling inflation across the globe.
The Renewable Energy (Biofuels) sector of the Nigerian economy has positioned itself to directly compete with the fossil petroleum sector for transport and industrial applications. The Global Biofuels’ initiative will therefore create new powerful and sustainable energy blocks in Nigeria by dispersing the ubiquitous ‘black gold’ to other deserving areas of the country, thus relieving tension, contributing to national economic growth, integration, respect, removal of social disparity and gradually addressing the issues of environmental degradation in the Niger-Delta region.
4) Conservation of Scarce Resources
Experts have predicted that at the current rate of production, Nigeria’s proven crude oil reserve will dry up within 35years. Finding and bringing out what is left in the ground is becoming very cumbersome and expensive. Global Biofuels’ initiative will help the country conserve foreign exchange and slow down the depletion of scarce petroleum resources. There are some 6.7 billion people in the world today using approximately 228 million barrels of fossil fuel per day as a primary energy resource. Records show that there are approximately 1 billion cars plying the roads globally; this figure will double by 2030. The world must therefore face the stark reality that it is impossible to replace fossil 100% with renewable. Fossil will continue to play very significant roles in the lives of mankind for very many years. Global Biofuels’ idea of using agricultural wastes to manufacture Biofuels will help Nigeria to conserve and stretch whatever is in the ground for the future generation of Nigerians. Government will no longer need to make substantial direct investments into energy projects as is the case today.
5) Mechanised Agriculture
At one time in the history of Nigeria, agriculture was the mainstay of the national economy. Those were the days of the groundnut pyramids, oil palm plantations, Crop Research Institutes and schools of Agriculture. With the discovery of the ‘black gold’ however, emphasis shifted – from agriculture to the extent that Nigeria has today become a net importer of agricultural products. The sector has been abandoned to old people, who till the grounds with archaic implements, resulting to drudgery in farming. Graduate farmers now hold white collar jobs in banks, ministries, departments and agencies of government because there are no farms to engage them. The sad reality however remains that Nigeria is blessed with enormous amounts of arable land, and there are between five and seven months of heavy rainfall annually, most of which – runs off into the sea and wasted.
The Global Biofuels’ sweet sorghum initiative will reverse this trend. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, small peasant farmers who produce grain sorghum from little farms scattered across several states of the Federation will be availed the benefits of modern research and transformed to large scale commercial farmers using modern equipment. Rain water will be harvested regularly and supplemented, where necessary, with underground water to irrigate the farmlands as a means of ensuring the sustainable production of feedstocks. Knowledge of modern mechanised farming techniques which are presently nil in Nigeria, will be transferred by experts from the developed world. We are therefore building a new generation of farmers, not peasant farmers, but commercial farmers. Agriculture will once again rise to a position of national prominence and contribute to the economic wellbeing of Nigerian citizens.