Tuesday, August 25, 2009
An important point on Jatropha and its cultivation
The first picture depicts a rain fed crop with no fertilizer on a normal soil.
Picture 2 shows the plants with moderate irrigation and application of fertilizer.
NOTE: The original article may not be accessible anymore-I keep getting an authorization error everytime I try with Firefox though I'm using a proxy.
This article, as implied in the url, talks about the failure of a Jatropha project due to lack of investors, but emphasizes another aspect of Jatropha that is ESSENTIAL to the whole issue. Jatropha curcas CAN grow in wasteland or marginal lands-however, it will NOT grow enough or produce enough fruit to be ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. Like any other cash crop, Jatropha needs to have inputs-fertilizer, water (these two mainly in the first 2-3 years of the plants life, where it is still in the important growth phase) and maintenance. Farmers cannot expect to get something from no input. I cannot stress this enough (hence the use of capitalization at strategic points)-although Jatropha can grow on poor soils, it needs care like any other crop in order to achieve its full potential. Rest assured, Project Jatropha is having the farmers plant the high-quality seedlings on rain-fed, decent soils and has also provided the farmers with agronomic training to enable them to maximize the seed output of the plants given. It is imperative that wherever Jatropha projects are undertaken, especially in coordination with small farmers, that an emphasis is placed on the need to cultivate the plant if one wants to produce an economically viable quantity of seeds.