(SeeNews) - Jul 18, 2011 - South Africa-based private investment company Insight Group Plc unveiled plans to develop a 500-hectare (1,200-acre) plantation in Gambia with Miscanthus Giganteus, a non-food biomass grass.
As part of the BIO E-GRASS biofuel investment project, Miscanthus plantations will be grown on barren land that is not used for food crop production at present. The project, which has already secured the support of the Gambian government, will create some 200 local jobs.
Insight Group has identified Gambia as a highly suitable region for large-scale production of the plant. Miscanthus Giganteus brings higher yields as compared to other biomass crops and can be grown on land that is unsuitable for food production. The plant represents a perennial crop and sequesters large amounts of carbon in its root system.
The popularity of the plant is expected to grow in the coming years. By 2016, Miscanthus Giganteus plantations in the US alone are seen to cover as much as 250,000 acres (101,100 hectares), Insight Group said.