Jatropha looked promising . But what went wrong?

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Is Jatropha a successful crop to cultivate in India?


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editorialteam

New Member
Jatropha was one of the most promising crop when farmers in India started growing the crop. But more and more we hear about the disappointment faced by small farmers growing Jatropha. Here is a report from BUSINESS WEEK that talks about why Jatropha has not been very successful. Tell us what you think? Share your experiences.

The jatropha shrub looked like a renewable-energy cash crop. Why it didn’t happen


A Green Fuel Effort Awash in Red Ink

  • ▸ Farmers and investors have both been burned by jatropha
  • ▸ “Without moisture it does not seed, or it seeds extremely poorly”
Money may not grow on trees, but for a time it appeared to grow on bushes—specifically, a tropical shrub called jatropha curcas. Over the past decade, jatropha was planted on millions of acres across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa after research showed that oil from its crushed seeds makes an excellent biofuel. Because jatropha can tolerate dry, rocky soil unsuited to agriculture, boosters said, subsistence farmers could grow it as a cash crop without denting food production. And with governments worldwide pushing renewable fuels, investors in jatropha-oil ventures looked set to win, too.

So far, the jatropha boom has produced more losers than winners. Many projects have foundered as seed production has failed to meet expectations, and India, China, and other countries have scaled back plans for additional planting. Farmers have discovered that while jatropha can indeed grow on barren land, it doesn’t flourish there, says Promode Kant, director of the Institute of Green Economy in New Delhi and co-author of a report titled The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha As a Global Biofuel. Says Kant: “Without moisture it does not seed, or it seeds extremely poorly.”

Moreover, some jatropha ventures appear to have harmed the environment and the poor people they were supposed to help. In 2006, 11 villages in Tanzania agreed to let BioShape, a Dutch company, develop a jatropha plantation in exchange for jobs and aid. BioShape logged the land but planted jatropha on only a small portion of it, then shut down in 2010, says Stanslaus Nyembea, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team, an advocacy group representing BioShape workers who lost their jobs. “The company was not interested in jatropha, they were interested in the timber,” Nyembea says. BioShape’s telephone in the Netherlands has been disconnected. A spokesman for Dutch utility Eneco, a major backer of the project, declined to comment.

Other jatropha ventures in Tanzania and Mozambique were left in limbo when Sun Biofuels, a British company that had planned to produce biodiesel for aircraft, ceased operations last fall after failing to obtain financing. Lion’s Head Global Partners, a London investment fund that acquired Sun’s Tanzanian assets, wants to restart operations but is having trouble finding investors, says Christopher Egerton-Warburton, a partner in the fund. Lack of financing derailed plans by another British company, Viridas, to develop jatropha plantations in Brazil. According to its London Stock Exchange filings, Viridas has shifted its focus to mining.

Investors have suffered, too. Shares of jatropha companies Gem BioFuels, a planter in Madagascar, and D1 Oils, which had a joint venture with oil giant BP, now trade as penny stocks in London. And last fall a British court convicted seven men of running a scheme to sell shares in Worldwide Bio Refineries, which they fraudulently claimed to be producing biodiesel from jatropha.

Still, potential customers remain keenly interested. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that by 2018 jatropha-based aircraft fuel could be produced for 86¢ per liter, about the same price as conventional jet fuel today and far less than fuel made from soybeans or palm. Last August a Boeing 777 aircraft owned by Aeromexico made the first intercontinental flight powered by a jatropha-based fuel, from Mexico City to Madrid. And Airbus has teamed with airline TAM to grow jatropha in Brazil.

Jatropha’s commercial future could hinge on plant science. SG Biofuels, a San Diego company, is developing hybrid strains that it says will produce more seeds. In January the company received $17 million in venture capital to expand jatropha research and planting in Brazil, Guatemala, and India. “We are in full-court commercial mode,” says SG Chief Executive Officer Kirk Haney.

It’s unlikely, though, that small farmers will ever strike it rich growing jatropha on otherwise barren land. “Jatropha remains promising only with adequate water, and the collection of seeds is very costly,” Indian researcher Kant says. In the tropical latitudes where the shrub grows, just a handful of countries will be able to produce jatropha economically, he says. “I see it only as a possibility in a very large plantation,” Kant says, “not for subsistence farmers.”

The bottom line Despite early hype of potential riches for jatropha producers, planting the oil seed hasn’t paid off for either small farmers or investors.

Article Courtesy : Business Week
Author: Carol Matlack
 
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fungus

New Member
dont agree with this

jatropa never looked promising, it was a gimmick to created by companies and some over enthusiastic people. surely they actually tried to sale some tissue cultured plant nothing else. jatropa farming actually does not meet some basic business fundamental
1. how its going to meet world energy need.
2, is it has same sort of technical advancement that a customer gets in petrochem.
3. world population growing. is it justified to diverse the land for energy crops.
its ok when you do it in arid land but energy crops fetches good price so obviously all sort of land will come into its fold, resulting in food security.
 

editorialteam

New Member
Dear Readers,

"Please find below another recent article from BUSINESS STANDARD on Jatropha cultivation in India."

Don't rush into biofuel

Learning from the jatropha mistake

The tropical shrub jatropha curcas, touted a decade ago as a commercially feasible source of biofuel to alleviate the global energy crisis, seems to have let its proponents down quite comprehensively. Millions of hectares of land in the arid areas of India and in many other Asian and African countries were turned into jatropha plantations in the expectation that the oil derived from its seeds would provide an alternative to diesel. However, this dream seems to have turned sour; evidence is growing that although the seeds are rich in bio-oil, the plant is neither as hardy and drought-tolerant as earlier presumed nor productive enough to be commercially viable without adequate water, fertiliser and careful management. India, apparently taken in by the global euphoria over the plant, had developed plans to turn about 13 million hectares of wasteland into jatropha plantations. Several financial incentives, including the free supply of jatropha seedlings, were offered. Globally, the lure of renewable fuels spurred many private companies into investing heavily in arid land, especially in Africa. Many of them are now being forced to consider alternative ways to redeem their investment.

The hype about the jatropha shrub was that it could grow on marginal land unfit for agriculture, that it needed very little water, and yielded abundant oil-bearing seeds. None of these assumptions has proved wholly true. Yes, the plant will grow even in harsh conditions; but its seed yield is not sufficient unless agronomic conditions are favourable. The experience of jatropha plantations in states like Assam, with good rainfall, as compared to those in relatively drier Jharkhand and Orissa, bears this out. A recent experiment by the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) found that jatropha plantations in Andhra Pradesh succumbed to a disease called black rot in the summers of 2009 and 2010. And, as far as energy-yield efficiency goes, studies have indicated that jatropha requires nearly as much water per unit of energy as sugarcane or maize.

So, how did so many governments and companies buy into jatropha without conducting agronomic trials or undertaking pilot projects? India’s case is truly bizarre, given that a section of the agricultural scientists had cautioned the government in advance. The contrast with Bt brinjal, where the scientific community was overwhelmingly in favour of the plant but the government exercised unnecessary caution, is stark. There were more fundamental questions about jatropha’s suitability in India, too. A land-based renewable fuel production strategy does not really fit a country where land is not abundantly available. That sane counsel went unheeded. Since past mistakes cannot be undone, lessons must be learnt instead. India must wait and watch until reliable technology is generated and sturdy and high-yielding varieties or hybrids of this plant are made available. Even then, it will be far more prudent to fully ascertain jatropha’s economic viability through pilot projects in different agro-ecological zones before giving it a state-assisted push.

Please feel free to leave your comments.
 
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editorialteam

New Member
Dear Readers,

If you have any query or questions, please post it here. We shall get it replied from the person who has been dealing in Jatropha.

Regards,
Editorial Team
 

k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
What went wrong..........

jatropa never looked promising, it was a gimmick to created by companies and some over enthusiastic people. surely they actually tried to sale some tissue cultured plant nothing else. jatropa farming actually does not meet some basic business fundamental
1. how its going to meet world energy need.
2, is it has same sort of technical advancement that a customer gets in petrochem.
3. world population growing. is it justified to diverse the land for energy crops.
its ok when you do it in arid land but energy crops fetches good price so obviously all sort of land will come into its fold, resulting in food security.


Thank you to project or highlight energy a farm related one.
What went wrong or what is right can not be concluded just because few of us are not satisfied.

One must appreciate how people came forward to identify a dry land crop may be its too early to say anything against those companies who put in their money for this project.Its not fair to attack a product without a scientific analysis.
Jatropha and its values are known to the world and its not a matter of few websites based companies to certify its credibility either.

The whole world knows the history of petroleum and its implications in global economy particularly the indian economy which is almost hanging without a judiciary warrant.As a Indian I am ashamed to see the continued dependency on petroleum which is not the bread or butter for a farmer.


One can not write off Jatropha or any other crop as a standby and at the moment I am to say that the worst injustice to Jatropha being the unilateral price declaration by bloody NABARD which announced the cost as Rs6/kg without knowing the scientific base of the whole plantation.


Yes. its a long term process and people like me also lost several lakhs of rupees but we never blame the product.

Someone who wanted to debate on Jatropha shall fix a venue and in the presence of media then people like me always ready to present a white paper so that the lapses could be corrected.

We the farmers are cursed by political goons while deciding the pricing of a product grown and Jatropha still a valid bet I challenge provided its steamlined by the Govt/s properly.


I am ready to debate if there is a decent response from genuine people other than the Hoonge cheating lobby in Karnataka.
Regards.

Bhadrinath.
 
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editorialteam

New Member
Dear Bhadrinath,

Consistent efforts from people like you only kept hope in Jatropha alive who have invested lot of time and money in the crop.

Like you, we also have Dr.V.K.Gour who says "Let's hope that stakeholders get right info and genuine material for plantation to not to blame Jatropha".

You had mentioned in one of your posts that there was group of students who asked you for the sample of Jatropha for research. Can we have those students on this forum as well to know what are the researches being done on Jatropha. Please give the details we shall invite them on this forum as well.

Regards,
Editorial Team
 

k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
What went wrong.....

Dear Bhadrinath,

Consistent efforts from people like you only kept hope in Jatropha alive who have invested lot of time and money in the crop.

Like you, we also have Dr.V.K.Gour who says "Let's hope that stakeholders get right info and genuine material for plantation to not to blame Jatropha".

You had mentioned in one of your posts that there was group of students who asked you for the sample of Jatropha for research. Can we have those students on this forum as well to know what are the researches being done on Jatropha. Please give the details we shall invite them on this forum as well.

Regards,
Editorial Team
Every year I inter act or join with deserving engg colleges through out the country and Its a fact that most of the projects are based on Jatropha.

What I found in most of the cases is the students who do the project never write few facts in their concluding part of the project book.

The Guides or the concerned HODs never take an innitiative to make available the students the seeds, oil, and the processing facility in the college.

There are many Universities who claim to work on Jatropha other than NGOs but its hardly visible to see any strong presentation technically about the values of such a good product.
Jatropha had the support of Mashalkar, N.R Raje and our ex. President Dr. Kalam but we could not attract the farming community to come forward on their own for growing Jatropha is a serious issue to be analysed.

The engg colleges are a good platform to initiate something On Jatropha but its the end users like automobile industry to come forward to extend a support base at a level where a campaigner is capable of delivering the best.

Media play an important role to connect farmers and acadamicians and also young students to apply their thoughts in the coming days.

Its not too late to plan well and make available the seeds, oil at a big scale so that more and more feedbacks are recorded to find out what is best to correct the lapses in Jatropha promotion.

More the seeds and oil will bring down the cost of seeds and oil soon.
Bhadrinath
 

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New Member
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editorialteam

New Member
Dear Mr. Badrinath,

Petroleum prices are increasing at a very rapid speed. And unfortunately our country is highly dependent on this fuel. Do you think in this situation Indian government can help make biofuel Jatropha a success? If yes, what should be done to achieve this? If no, why no?

Regards,
Editorial Team
 

k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
Jatropha what went wrong.......

Dear editor/editorial team!

On the face of its inception most of the policy makers superceded this subject in the name of food security as if Biofuel may cause severe draught and short supplies in edible oils.

The reason is Indian businessmen in edible oil industry protect the interest of oil palm to a very great extent and india is no doubt to encourage the growth of the economy of OPEC as well as SEA countries by generously allowing the import of oilpalm otherwise MPOB is a sister concern of our politicians like OPEC.


The fact is our countrymen do not knoow what is the actual cost of a fuel be it Petroleum or an alternate one except to use liberally sold in the market.


There are plenty of support for marketting, distribution and processing of petroleum by the Govt/s but that is not the same for the promotion of oil seeds, plantation and this is one reason why we fail to see any rapid growth of biofuels so far.

Which is good or bad is left to the policy makers and unless the dependency factor is totally ejected outright by countrymen there is no any near future for a alternate to petroleum even if you offer a free of cost biofuel......

This is a big debate.
All I can say is its better to be role model than a ruling others in this matter.

Regards,

Bhadrinath.
 
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editorialteam

New Member
When we asked the same question to Dr. Narpat Singh Shekhawat - on rising petroleum prices and high dependency on the same can Indian government help in making Jatropha a success. To which Dr. Shekhawat replied

"
It is difficult to project what happens even in very near future; we have to go for alternative sources of energy and may go for Jatropha/Pongamia plantation. My feeling is that if diesel prices go beyond 60-70/100 rupees per L then only economics of Jatropha plantation will work. But then one should think of environmental consequences particularly of water depletion." as told to our editorial coordinator.

Regards,
Editorial Team
 

editorialteam

New Member
Dear Mr. Bhadrinath,

"Devaliya lion safari park, 12 km away from Sasan-Gir, is all set to go for 100 per cent pollution-free. The forest department has decided to use biodiesel made from jatropha to run all tourists vehicles used to take tourists for lions' sighting in the park" came recently in news.

This implies jatropha has the potential but still untapped to a large extent. Please give your opinion on this?

Regards,
Editorial Team
 
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k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
Dear Mr. Bhadrinath,

"Devaliya lion safari park, 12 km away from Sasan-Gir, is all set to go for 100 per cent pollution-free. The forest department has decided to use biodiesel made from jatropha to run all tourists vehicles used to take tourists for lions' sighting in the park" came recently in news.

This implies jatropha has the potential but still untapped to a large extent. Please give your opinion on this?

Regards,
Editorial Team
There is no question of under estimating the use of Biodiesel.
The cost of diesel is already Rs47/liter.plus.
Once the cost of diesel is up Rs55/liter. I think there is a strong buyer for biodiesel or the cost of Biodiesel shall be always 20% more than Diesel that is all.

The consumer is hardly going to loose much considering the higher efficiency of Biodiesel than Diesel around 11%.

I want this countrymen to choose the right path in using a fuel and give importance to domestic farmer related products.

Regards,
Bhadrinath.
 

k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
Dear Mr. Badrinath,

What can be done to make it Jatropha a success in India?

Regards,
Shweta-Editorial team
No doubt any long term projects are always success if there is a strong team and a will to carry out the plan.

The state Govts are responsible for the continued lapses in agriculture and the state govts are the one who hold the inventory of unused or never used lands other than forestory and revenue lands.

Throwing Jatropha nurseries along side the railway platform or planting few sapplings in Asoka hall are not the solution.


What I suggest is or strongly recommand is to form a seperate board at national level under the chairmanship of a eminent person like Dr.Kurien immediately to see that this renewable energy is managed by co-operative movement.


Secondly, this Mission shall be a kind of white revolution to be more productive for small and marginal farmers along with a sustained income for the willing people who come forward to work for the success of this Jatro power.
I am ready to work under such people without any material benefits I promise.
Some may opt for Dr.Kalam but he is not a capable guy to lead any revolution.

Many may recollect Dr.M.S also but he is a hybrid man and pro corporates.
We dream for a leadership of Kuriens and none else.


I do not think NABARD or NOVAD will be of any sense/use in this subject.
Its a leaderless mission today and this could be successful if such a person like Dr.Kurien guide the interested workers like me.
I am sure that every indian know the danger of petroleum and its a topmost priority than a Lokpal bill.

I am sure Dr.Kurien will read this message.
Regards,

Bhadrinath.
 
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editorialteam

New Member
Can you provide us the contact details of Dr. Kurien so that we can contact him to discuss the subject on larger scale.

Regards,
Shweta
 

nisiei

New Member
Jatropa what went wrong ??

Dear Editorial team and Mr. Badrinath
It is sad to see a promising competitor for petroleum based fuel get condemned .
Jatropa remains and will remain a sound alternative if handled sensibly. The problems have been multi directional. It was assumed that it can grow in an arid and desert atmosphere
It was assumed that it can be marketed like any fuel now in use
Now when both have been proved wrong we begin to condemn the product, It will be wise if ICRISAT takes up a serious study as to the water needs and at what stage of planting/growth of the plant and come out with better seed yielding with higher oil content seeds. Meantime the Oil marketing companies which are clamoring for increase in prices of petroleum based products must pool in their resources for compulsory 10% mix of refined Jatropa oil and go further increase in quantity of off take of Jatropa Oil. To begin with the cost of Jatropa oil may be equal to their selling price of Diesel but once a road way is established for selling from Farmer to oil mill to the Oil marketing companies the prices will start declining.Initially the cost to the oil marketing companies may look high but don't forget the crude oil which is imported is not on rupee payment but deplete precious foreign exchange,resulting in high inflation, depletion of budgetary allocation of subsidies.Spend the subsidy given to diesel, kerosene and petrol on purchase of Jatropa oil.Unfortunately there is no political will to rope in the Public sector giants. we have the resources , we have the technology but we lack the love for our nation. May God save us.
Vijayakumar Samuel
Nisieint
 

k1jatrophaoils

Active Member
What went wrong with Jatropha.....

Please see my reply n bold letters.



dear editorial team and mr. Badrinath
it is sad to see a promising competitor for petroleum based fuel get condemned .
Jatropa remains and will remain a sound alternative if handled sensibly. The problems have been multi directional. it was assumed that it can grow in an arid and desert atmosphere
it was assumed that it can be marketed like any fuel now in use
now when both have been proved wrong we begin to condemn the product,



i never condemned nor discouraged as such.
I have my own experience with omcs or icrisat for that matter.
Ethanol considered as a better option by both oims and icrisat and no need to bring them for discussion.
Its as good as asking a muderer to justify his crime.





It will be wise if icrisat takes up a serious study as to the water needs and at what stage of planting/growth of the plant and come out with better seed yielding with higher oil content seeds. Meantime the oil marketing companies which are clamoring for increase in prices of petroleum based products must pool in their resources for compulsory 10% mix of refined jatropa oil and go further increase in quantity of off take of jatropa oil.






The question is how and who shall lead this subject with a proper vision to make success of jatropha plantation. The cost of jatropha oil is rs50/kg today if sourced.
This is due to cost of seeds and its very less availability that is all.





To begin with the cost of jatropa oil may be equal to their selling price of diesel but once a road way is established for selling from farmer to oil mill to the oil marketing companies the prices will start declining.initially the cost to the oil marketing companies may look high but don't forget the crude oil which is imported is not on rupee payment



USD to INR was 42 last year.
This year its 52 plus............



But deplete precious foreign exchange,resulting in high inflation, depletion of budgetary allocation of subsidies.spend the subsidy given to diesel, kerosene and petrol on purchase of jatropa oil.unfortunately there is no political will to rope in the public sector giants. We have the resources , we have the technology but we lack the love for our nation.



Do not worry.
India will change after 2014.
The communals and corrupts will be shown the doors.


May god save us.
Vijayakumar samuel
nisieint
 
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editorialteam

New Member
Dear Mr. Badrinath,

Petroleum prices are increasing at a very rapid speed. And unfortunately our country is highly dependent on this fuel. Do you think in this situation Indian government can help make biofuel Jatropha a success? If yes, what should be done to achieve this? If no, why no?

Regards,
Editorial Team
Yes, if the government considers as an important crop. There must be free seedling and plants distribution from Government The vacant space at highways, government land, and building should be planted with Jatropha. The Forest land near to Villages must be fenced and protected and planted with the Jatropha. The government must consider Jatropha as needy crop. Yes you are right. We need to work a lot for the Jatropha plantation. The crop must be analyzed a lot. There must be separate directorates for the Jatropha Research or bio fuel crop research. We have to make it successful as Green revolution. A lot of foreign reserve is lost just because of Fuel. It must be the first priority to check it. May be today we need to invest but in the long term we will get a lot of profit. The plantation can be done under NAREGA. The collection of seeds can also be done under NAREGA. The jatropha needs some result oriented steps. We must be careful that the task should not be paralysed due to corruption.

As answered by
Mr. Ganesh Prajapat, Executive Director, ACI Agrosolution
 

editorialteam

New Member
jatropa never looked promising, it was a gimmick to created by companies and some over enthusiastic people. surely they actually tried to sale some tissue cultured plant nothing else. jatropa farming actually does not meet some basic business fundamental
1. how its going to meet world energy need.
2, is it has same sort of technical advancement that a customer gets in petrochem.
3. world population growing. is it justified to diverse the land for energy crops.
its ok when you do it in arid land but energy crops fetches good price so obviously all sort of land will come into its fold, resulting in food security.
You can’t say it is a gimmick. Yes, there is lack of coordination among Government, Grower, Business House and the research institutes. I will accept it. This lack of coordination is highlighted as gimmick. For those persons who want a flashy outcome from the Jatropha. It is a gimmick. Jatropha must be promoted as lively hood income source not as a return on investment. Since the crop and collecting of seeds are labour intensive, definitely it will increase the cost of the production. But it does not mean that Jatropha can replace the Petroleum Diesel. It is a substitute. I think burning of Indigenous diesel of Rs100/litre is better than the diesel at Rs 50/litre, as we purchase it in exchange of the Foreign Currency Reserve. The above concept will not work on micro level but it will work on macro level. If jatropha is promoted as only bio-diesel, then that is wrong. It must be promoted as a crop, as there are lots of use from this crop such as environment protection, soil conservation, Non edible oil production, Lubricant production, as border crop or cover crop, as greenery development, as bio mass development and many more. The opportunity in Jatropha will never die. There is huge opportunity in this crop. The opportunity must be explored as the Government Extension workers or Business Companies are cheats at present.

As answered by -
Mr. Ganesh Prajapat, Executive Director ACI Agrosolution
 

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