Italian Firm To Invest Ksh16 Billion in Kenya for Production of Aviation Biofuel

January 25, 2024

The Kenyan government, under President William Ruto, has secured a significant investment from an Italian company for a project aimed at producing jet fuel, an initiative that is set to position Kenya as a leader in aviation biofuel production.

The investment deal, amounting to Ksh16 billion (approximately USD 100 million), was negotiated and confirmed by Abubakar Hassan Abubakar, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Investment Promotion.

The Italian firm Enrico Travelini, identified as the second-largest oil producer in Europe, has committed to financing this venture.

The project focuses on castor farming, a crop well-suited for semi-arid regions.

Abubakar emphasized the potential benefits for farmers in these areas, stating, Castor farming is an alternative crop for farmers in semi-arid areas to earn a decent living. Led by Enrico Travelini we have facilitated castor growing, extraction, and processing investment worth over $100 M from ENI, Italy, to stimulate the socio-economic development of ASAL areas, he noted.

Moreover, the production of biofuel from castor seeds is expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions in aviation, aligning with global environmental goals and President Ruto’s commitment to the world.

The castor seeds will be processed to produce non-edible vegetable oil which will be refined to produce biofuel for jets to reduce carbon emissions, added PS Abubakar.

PS Abubakar spoke after visiting a 200-hectare farm in Marura, Naivasha, dedicated to the multiplication of parental seeds for castor farming.

This farm will play a crucial role in producing hybrid castor seeds with enhanced yield, which will then be distributed to about 80,000 smallholder farmers across 15 counties for contract farming.

The project is not only a stride in environmental sustainability but also a boon for economic development and job creation in Kenya.

The involvement of a significant number of smallholder farmers and the development of new industrial capabilities are expected to have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

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