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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click on the FAQ's below for the answer

Potential of Jatropha as an energy crop?

Jatropha has great potential to grow on lands, that are not productive for food crop. Jatropha yields oil in smallest time frame as compared to all other trees. Since a small area around the plant is provided with fertilizer, the requirement of fertilizer is 10% of the other crops. Since 90% of area is not supplied with fertilizer, nothing grows on that land. In good / forest lands it can be inter-cropped with Castor. Income and oil production from Castor starts from first year itself.

Some web sites say that can be planted 3.000 plants per hectare, other says less, (for ex. you say 1,600).

It is planted in 3 x 2 meters matrix. This has 1,600 plants in a hector. The plant when fully grown has a diameter of 1 meter. Two plants merge into each other in the 2 meters gap, while there is a free space of 1 meter in 3 meters gap. This gap is required for harvesting.

Some web sites say that the plant gives fruits after one year, other say after two year.???

It starts fruiting after first hot (summer) season, but yield is low as it has few branches. When it is pruned every year, number of branches grow, and the fruits are more due to more braches. You get full yield, when branches are around 40. This may take 3 to 5 years.

Some web sites say that plant can give 1.5 kg of seeds, other and 3 kg, till 4/5 kg. ???.

The number of seeds depend on branches, which depends on proper pruning. In India, we get 1/2 kg per plant.

Some web sites say that production of oil can be the 60% and another says the 30% or the 25%. ???

The oil content of seed with cover is around 27 to 33%, with an average of 30%. The oil content in white kernel is 60%. When expelled, you can get oil which is 25% of seed with cover.

What are the Advantages of Jatropha cultivation?

It can be done on fallow lands, requires less amount of water and fertilizer, yields non-edible oil in 3 years. It is good for forestration of desert lands with water from locally treated waste water. It is good for rural employment and rural energy security. It is also god for degraded forests.

What are Sustainable models of Jatropha cultivation?

It can be planted in fields of size ranging from 1 to 10 acres for one farmer to 1,000 acres for large plantation companies. Income will be proportionate to size of field.

Jatropha nurseries, Clonal Propagation?

Jatropha Saplings are generally prepared from Seeds or Branches. Those produced from branches, yield fruits faster. Hybrid and Clonal varieties are also available now.

Seedling and Cuttings for Plantation

Seedlings grown from seeds have a tap root, which helps in droughts and cyclones. It can collect water from deep soil and anchors the tree. Cuttings do not have tap root, but seeds are obtained much earlier from trees of these saplings.

Commercial Nurseries : Plans and Costs

These are done in Green / Net Houses for large scale production. It is done in 1% of the plantation area, directly in soil bed. The production cost of seedling is higher, but these are stronger as proper care is taken for first 3 months. If individual farmer produces seedlings in field, it is much cheaper.

Controlled Environmental Chambers

It helps in initial growth of saplings. It is good and more saplings survive well in plantations.

Organic way for Disease Control and Rapid Growth

Organic farming is better as it is natural and requires lesser amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.

Disease Management in Nurseries

Disease Control is much easier in nurseries as young saplings are attacked by pests in first 3 months. Also plants are stacked in smaller area in closed chambers, so individual attention can be provided to all saplings.

Why India is leading country in Jatropha Cultivation?

Jatropha is good for employment for rural poor people. In India, its oil is used for lighting the lamps and in Soap manufacture, as other edible oils, like palm, used so far are very expensive (prices have doubled). Jatropha has bright future in India, as our country is densely populated and soil is good, largely due to organic farming techniques used for last hundreds of years. Many countries in Africa where it is not populated, the expenses for roads and townships that need to be set up are prohibitive. This makes africa less attractive. In south east asia conditions are good but labour costs are double that of India.

What is the share of India and Myanmar in the world production?

India and Myanmar's share will always be more than 50% as the land is organic and labour is quite inexpensive. There is a lot of manual work in plantation, pruning and harvesting. Machines for planting, pruning and harvesting are not yet developed.

In how many years you think India could export Jatropha oil?

It will not be possible to satisfy local demand and export to other countries is unlikely.

What are the production cost to produce one ton of Jatropha oil?

1 liter of oil is produced from 3 to 4 kgs of seeds. The seed cost is currently around Rs. 12 to 14 per kg and cost of extraction is Rs. 2 per liter of oil.

Which big companies in India produce oil or who have project for Jatropha oil?

In India, nobody can hold more than 50 acres of land, hence most plantations are scattered on small lands. These are owned by the people who work on their own land. These are close to their villages. These are taken care manually, and yield best results.

What is the Process of oil extraction?

There are two methods. Screw type oil expeller is used for small scale activity (1 to 10 tons of oil per day) and Solvent extraction for capacities more than 100 tons of oil per day. You can get 25% oil from an expeller, while 30% from solvent extraction.

What is the configuration of Plantation?

Jatropha is planted in 3 X 2 meters square configuration. This allows us to plant 400 plants per acre or 1,600 plants per hectare. Castor is planted as intercrop for first two years, if the land is fertile.

Can contract farming be done in Jatropha Plantation?

Contract farming works well where the supply is much more than demand and the processing machinery is expensive and processing is difficult. It is not the case in Jatropha. Farmers may sell it to some one offering higher price than the contract price or produce oil and use it for his own lighting needs.

Which are the oil seeds best suited for BioDiesel manufacture?

These are Jatropha Curcas, Pongamia Pinnata, Mahua, Castor, Simarouba, Kokam etc. Jatropha Curcas and Pongamia Pinnata are plantations, which produce non edible oil. Castor is a crop, which can be harvested in 4 months. Castor too gives non edible oil and is grown as intercrop within Plantations. Simarouba, Kokam and Mahua is also a plantation, which gives edible oil.

What is the yield from 1 hectare of Jatropha / Castor Plantation?

You can get 0.5 tons of Castor seeds in first and second year and 1.5 tons of Jatropha seed from third to fifth year. You can get higher yields after 5 years. Jatropha will yield seeds for 40 to 50 years.

Can the oil be used as it is in Power Generating Station?

In Power Generating sets, oil is burnt at high temperature (100o C or higher). At that high temperature, viscosity reduces considerably. Any unit generating 1 megawatt or higher can burn the oil directly.

What is the Cost of Expeller unit?

An expeller plant is required to extract oil from seeds. The size of expeller unit can be 1 MT / day (Capital Cost Rs. 700,000) or 1 MT / hour (Capital Cost Rs. 3,000,000) or 2 MT / hour (Capital Cost Capital Cost Rs. 5,000,000). These values are indicative and you should get fresh quotes from expeller manufacturers. Depending on the capacity of the plant the cost of expelling oil will be between Re. 0.19 per liter to Re 0.90 per liter of oil.

Intercropping models

Castor is the best inter crop in fallow land and Corn or Soya in fertile land. These are energy crops and yield income in 4 months.

Intercropping of Jatropha curcas with palm and rubber

This is not a good idea. When Palm / Rubber tree grows it covers entire floor area, and less sunlight is available for Jatropha and Jatropha can not survive after few years.

Intercropping of traditional food crops with Jatropha curcas

It is not recommended as Jatropha is non edible, and mixing it with edible crops is dangerous. Jatropha should be planted on boundaries of fields.

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