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Indian State of Uttar Pradesh to Cultivate Jatropha on 40% of Wasteland

Business Standard. The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has set a target to bring at least 40% of its wasteland under jatropha cultivation for biodiesel feedstock within the coming five years.

According to the State Jatropha Mission Cell sources, the state government had formed a joint venture with Bharat Petroleum Ltd in the name of Bharat Renewable Energy Ltd (BREL), which will be investing Rs. 2,031 crores [US$474.4 million] in 30 districts of the state towards bio-diesel production.

In all, sources claimed, 15.86 lakh [1.586 million] hectares of wasteland had been marked for cultivation of Jatropha in the state and in Agra alone, 26,721 hectares wasteland had been set aside for bio-diesel cultivation.

Contrary to policies so far, the government reportedly will not take over the land; instead, farmers will be allotted land for jatropha.

Located in the northern part of India, and sharing an international border with Nepal, UP is India’s most populous state.



Bio-fuel bubble: India’s Jatropha woes


I wrote a blog about how much biodiesel can be produced from the 1.6 million ha in UP. A fairly signifcant share of India's diesel product imports can be displaced by this measure.
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Maybe they can cultivate Jatropha and transition to Miscanthus when the technology takes off....

Henry Gibson

Perhaps the biomass grown can be converted to food and exported to countries where all the people are not well fed! ..HG..


HG, the people who are not well fed cannot afford to buy the food after the transportation and distribution costs taken into account.


HG, the people who are not well fed cannot afford to buy the food after the transportation and distribution costs taken into account.


Jatropha is one of the more promising biofuel plants. It can grow on marginal lands to produce non-edible oil, which doesn't compete with food crops. It is drought resistant and is already used in land management to reverse deforestation and as a hedge plant in these areas. It is a perrenial and lives 50 years. Although it's products are not suitable for feed, it does produce a lot of oil on what is typically unused land and is suitable for poverty alleviation and extra income policies. The oil is already commercially used for soap and candle making.

Each hectare produces an average of 1000 gallons of biodiesel per year and 3500 kg. of biomass.

The magic word is marginal. There is a tendency to specialize and create monocultures to maximize yields. In this case, what should be emphasized is the diversification of land use with jatropha having these positive side benefits and being used on land that is not suitable for food crops. The biomass gathered from the jatropha can be used to increase the fertility of the land for food crops. A market policy of micro-credit and maybe local carbon taxes (which already exists in some parts of India), should be looked into to help jump start these local farmers with injections of capital. Large scale capital should be set aside for later large scale impletation of other jatropha based local technologies such as biodiesel plants and gassification and electrical generation plants for the local towns and cities if the technology proves viable.


I hope jatropha biodiesel can help the people who need it most without hurting much land while doing so. It can be labor intensive but if it creates jobs that should be a good thing. Plus, innovation should solve some problems.

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