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In 2003, the Planning Commission of India decided to introduce mandatory biofuel blending over increasingly larger parts of the country with a target of 30% by 2020. The Planning Commission pushed for Jatropha as it was considered to be high, early yielding, nonbrowsable and requiring little irrigation and even less management. Now 85% of the Indian Jatropha farmers have stopped.
Research on Jatropha planting in Tanzania found the net present value of a five-year investment in Jatropha plantation was negative with a loss of US$ 65 per ha on lands with yields of 2 tons/ha of seeds and only slightly beneficial at US$9 per ha with yields of 3 tons when the average expected Jatropha seed yield on poor barren soils is only 1.7 to 2.2 tons/ha.
NBF has written positively about Jatropha before. It is basically a weed that people thought could grow on land not useful for farming to make a lot of biofuel.
Jatropha was never considered economically important enough for domestication; as a result, seed and oil productivity is highly variable.
Others followed into the Jatropha Fiasco
In 2006, China decided to meet 15% of its transportation energy needs by 2020 and, following India’s example, focused on Jatropha, with plans to raise it on more than 1 million ha of marginal lands.
By 2008, Jatropha had been planted on more than an estimated 900,000 ha, of which 85% was in Asia, 13% in Africa and the rest in Latin America.
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