Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finally The Time That We Were All Waiting For----

Dear Blog Followers,

Tuesday, August 10th, was a very cloudy day at our project site. However, that did not bother us as we were too excited. That was the day when the farmers from Thippalapura sold the collected dried Jatropha seeds from the project site to us! We were eagerly waiting for this day. We wanted to show the farmers that we meant what we had said two years ago. We would buy the seeds that they collected at the market price. Here are some of the pictures of the entire process.

One of the farmer leaders took the initiative of establishing a rural seed bank. He had established a very interesting protocol . Instead of each farmer selling the seeds to us independently, he convinced them to work together. The farmers took the collected seeds to the "Seed Bank" where they were bought for RS.7/Kg. He stored them in a dry place in his home and patiently waited for us to purchase them. They had collected 80 Kg of seeds. We paid Rs. 10 per kg so, he made a profit of Rs.3 per Kg!

Once we reached the "Seed Bank", we realized that we needed a weighing machine! Neither we nor the villagers had a weighing machine. It was no big deal though. We had to make an extra trip to the nearby rice mill in Hunsur, where we used their weighing machine to weigh the seeds. The farmers had collected 80 kg seeds. We were very happy with the amount collected. This was the first transaction that has taken place. This was the first time we bought the seeds from the farmers proving to them that we are in this for a long haul. They were very happy and we were very excited to buy the seeds.

The next step was to take the seeds to Labland Biotechs to extract the biofuel. We transported the seeds to Labland Biotechs. There, they will first determine the amount of oil content in the seeds before extraction. This time, we are going to get the oil converted into biodiesel and then distribute to the selected farmer leaders to do the test runs. Unfortunately we could not be there for the production of biodiesel because it was time for us to return to CA. We have made arrangements for our farmer leaders to collect the biodiesel from Labland Biotechs through the help of Parivarthana staff once the biodiesel is ready. I will update the results of the test runs once I have the results.

Honestly, we did not expect to see 80 Kg of seeds collected as most of the plants are just one year old. Since it was the first year, we never anticipated any yield, even if they had been pruning the plants as suggested. However, when we reached Labland Biotechs, their reaction was surprising to us. Adarsha will share their perspective in his blog post in a day or two.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Adarsha,

    Those are great pictures and stories. Kudos to you and your sister. What is the next step now? I mean in terms of biofuel work, not the school tree planting. I know that you guys have reached great strides in that line. However, the main objective was replacing tobacco with Jatropha right? Are you guys encouraging more farmers to give up tobacco? In any case, great job kids!