Friday, August 20, 2010

Project Jatropha's goal is not limited to promoting Jatropha cultivation

Dear friends,

Adarsha and I have returned from our India trip. Sorry, we could not blog our adventures as we had no access what so ever to Internet! I remember, last year, I could blog a few times during our stay. This year, as we had only three weeks time, we had to stay put and work at the project site. We have made several interesting journal entries and will be blogging them in the coming weeks. Overall, it was a very productive visit.

Where ever we went, the journalists had one question/concern that we never anticipated. Though we clarified it over and over, I thought of sharing it with you all. The name Project Jatropha often caused confusion in the urban areas. People thought that we were promoting only Jatropha cultivation and we were bombarded with concerns about mono-cropping and its limitations. Actually when we launched this project, we were much younger. This was just a social experiment. We did not have big plans. We thought of trying this out by giving a possible alternative to tobacco cultivation. We never asked the farmers to give up tobacco in entirety. As we initially introduced Jatropha, Adarsha came up with the name Project Jatropha and at that time it was a suitable name. Once the project took off, we did a lot of research on other biofuel sources. We have included Pongamea and are in the process of introducing Simaruba, a novel biofuel plant. We will share more information about this useful plant in a separate blog post. Project Jatropha not only promotes the cultivation of Jatropha and other biofuel plants but also aims to provide environmental education to students of rural schools. We have done massive planting of useful forestry saplings to prevent deforestation involving scores of youth in the villages near Hunsur. This was a great experience. We have planted more than 25,000 forestry saplings involving 33 schools and 300 farmers by the end of this summer. Adarsha and I will blog our individual school stories in the coming weeks. We are very happy that our visit was very successful.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kiddos,
    Welcome back. We would love to hear about the adventures. Did you visit any rural schools around Malavalli?
    Simaruba?? Is that a local Kannada name? Any idea about the botanical/common English name? Did you see the plants. Would love to know more.