Sunday, August 22, 2010
65% Survival Rate for Phase I and Phase II Jatropha Plants
Dear followers of Project Jatropha,
During our recent visit to India this summer (August 2010), we found out that the survival rate of the Phase I and Phase II Jatropha plants was 65%, which is pretty good-higher than I had anticipated. The dead plants were replaced with gap filling-a number which amounted to around 5000 plants. However, when we told Labland Biotechs the survival rate, they were surprised: Labland was expecting a survival rate of around 98%, which is what they had gotten while growing the plants in the field. Earlier, when we got the number of plants that survived from the farmers, they also provided us with the reasons for the plant deaths. In general, the farmers attributed their plant losses to erratic rainfall, which had been happening. However, upon closer inspection of several farmers' fields, this explanation did not quite make sense. We’d see two plots, each containing Jatropha (as a hedge or in the form of bunds), side by side. One plot would have Jatropha plants that were four or five feet high and fruiting (with multiple branches), while the other plot would have fewer plants, and the surviving plants would only be two or three foot high stalks with absolutely no fruit whatsoever. If erratic rainfall had been the cause of the dead plants, then two plots right next to each other should have had similarly sized plants. Labland Biotechs believes that the farmers did not take as good care of the plants as they should have, leading to the decreased survival rates. The plants that were closer to the cash crops of the farmers were the ones that grew better, which makes sense since the farmers would take care of the cash crops nearby. We hope that the gap filling will make up for the lost seedlings.
For Jatropha Plants Survival Data please click here!