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What is Jatropha?

curcus is a drought-resistant perennial, growing well in marginal/poor soil. It is easy to establish, grows relatively quickly and lives, producing seeds for 50 years.

Jatropha plant - jatropha seeds and jatropha saplings available in USA!

Jatropha the wonder plant produces seeds with an oil content of 30%-40%. The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. It burns with clear smoke-free flame, tested successfully as fuel for simple diesel engine. The by-products are press cake a good organic fertilizer, oil contains also insecticide.

It is found to be growing in many parts of the country, rugged in nature and can survive with minimum inputs and easy to propagate.



Sustainability

Jatropha nuts may be attained as early has six months after planting. Jatropha is a valuable multi-purpose crop to alleviate soil degradation, desertification and deforestation, which can be used for bio-energy to replace petro-diesel, for soap production and climatic protection, and hence deserves specific attention.

Jatropha can help to increase rural incomes, self-sustainability and alleviate poverty for women, elderly, children and men, tribal communities, small farmers. It can as well help to increase income from plantations and agro-industries.

There are various trees that are suitable for bio-diesel production. Out of all these trees, Jatropha must be regarded as a sure inclusion and the foundation around which a plan can be built if for nothing but its pure hardiness and stress handling ability. It is just a tree that has enough credentials. That is why the Planning Commission of India has nominated it as ideal plant for biodiesel.

Food VS Fuel

Jatropha may be planted in marginal soils, unfit for food crop production, and requires little water.Rushing to turn food crops — maize, wheat, sugar, palm oil — into fuel for cars, without first examining the impact on global hunger, would be a recipe for disaster. Among the potential impacts identified are increasing food prices, increasing competition over land and forests, forced evictions, impacts on employment and conditions of work, and increasing prices and scarcity of water. That is why Jatropha was recently recommended as a biofuels crop for developing countries by UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food

In recent years, the Indian government has shown a major interest in Jatropha, and alongside other developing countries, a number of international groups are now sharing this interest. There have been substantial political and social pressures to promote the growing of such crops (in particular Jatropha curcas) in India, as a means of economic empowerment, social upliftment and poverty alleviation within marginalized communities.

Ecological Requirements

Jatropha can be planted without cultivation. This leaves arable land for food crop cultivation. Jatropha curcas grows almost anywhere , even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils. It can thrive on the poorest stony soil. It can grow even in the crevices of rocks. The leaves shed during the winter months form mulch around the base of the plant. The organic matter from shed leaves enhance earth-worm activity in the soil around the root-zone of the plants, which improves the fertility of the soil.

Regarding climate, Jatropha curcas is found in the tropics and subtropics and likes heat, although it does well even in lower temperatures and can withstand a light frost. Its water requirement is extremely low and it can stand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce transpiration loss. Jatropha is also suitable for preventing soil erosion and shifting of sand dunes.

Vegoil and biodiesel

Jatropha oil may be burned as a fuel source directly from the pressed nut oil. For use in diesel engines it must be processed. This process is simple, old technology and easy for a village or individual to set up. Currently the oil from Jatropha curcas seeds is used for making biodiesel fuel in Philippines, promoted by a law authored by Philippine senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Miguel Zubiri. Likewise, jatropha oil is being promoted as an easily grown biofuel crop in hundreds of projects throughout India and other developing countries.

Toxicity

Characteristic of many members of the family Euphorbiaceae, Jatropha plants contain several toxic compounds, including lectin, saponin, carcinogenic Jatropha oil is great as a biodiesel feed stock.phorbol, and a trypsin inhibitor. Despite this, the seeds are occasionally eaten after roasting, which reduces some of the toxicity. Its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting as few as three untreated seeds can be fatal to humans. […]

Jatropha: costs and benefits

Jatropha seeds from our plantation

  1. Jatropha needs at least 600mm (23in) of rain a year to thrive. However, it can survive three consecutive years of drought by dropping its leaves
  2. It is excellent at preventing soil erosion, and the leaves that it drops act as soil-enriching mulch
  3. The plant prefers alkaline soils
  4. The cost of 1,000 jatropha saplings (enough for one acre) in Pakistan is about £50, or 5p each
  5. The cost of 1kg of jatropha seeds in India is the equivalent of about 7p. Each jatropha seedling should be given an area two metres square.
  6. 20 per cent of seedlings planted will not survive
  7. Jatropha seedlings yield seeds in the first year after plantation