In terms of human development, it has been placed 172nd out of 182 countries1. With rural subsistence farmers constituting 85% of its population2, the lack of modern energy services in rural areas is perceived as a major impediment to raising agricultural productivity. While 20% of Mozambique’s urban population have access to electricity, this is true of only 1 to 2% of the rural population. The country is sparsely populated with large tracts of unutilised land, making grid extension unviable.
The prospects for and benefits from investing in small‐scale biofuel production for local energy generation are therefore considerable. The Mozambican government is actively promoting Jatropha as part of its National Biofuel Policy and Strategy3 (see section II.9)
A National Biofuel Council is being set up to coordinate, supervise and evaluate its implementation. Jatropha cultivation in Mozambique has grown from 7,000 ha in 2008 to 35,000 ha in 2010, and is expected to grow to 170,000 ha in 20152.