SG Biofuels, a sustainable plant oil company specializing in the development of Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainable source of oil, has developed the first large-scale Jatropha community-farming initiative in Central America and entered into the first project with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) to test and enhance sustainability standards for Jatropha cultivation.
The SG Biofuels/RSB pilot is evaluating the practicality and usability of RSB sustainability standards applied against a 1,400 acre (600 hectare) Jatropha community-farming model established by SG Biofuels in Guatemala.
Through the model, participating community farmers received free seedlings and monthly technical training from SG Biofuels. SG Biofuels has also eliminated the harvest sale risk to the farmers by providing guaranteed purchase contracts of 100 percent of the production.
The project includes more than 380 farmers in 25 distinct communities. Plantations were established without displacing food crops and on land that was considered marginalized and unsuitable for food crops.
Guatemala is home to SG Biofuels’ Genetic Resource Center, containing what SG claims is the largest and most diverse library of Jatropha genetic material. The company recently announced the first elite Jatropha cultivar, JMax 100 (earlier post), optimized for Guatemala. SG Biofuels also launched the JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform.