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FAO, IFAD Publish Report on Bioenergy from Jatropha

22 July 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have published a report titled "Jatropha: A smallholder bioenergy crop," which discusses the potential for jatropha as a bioenergy crop in semi-arid and remote areas of developing countries.

The report underscores that jatropha can reduce soil erosion and that its seeds can be processed into biodiesel for light or cooking fuel. It highlights that jatropha grows in marginal areas and does not compete with food crops, but notes that it may need inputs, such as water and fertilizers for sustained yields. The report cautions that the seed yield, oil quality and oil content are variable, and stresses the need for more crop improvement. It suggests that the greatest pro-poor potential for jatropha at present is for the reclamation of degraded farmland. The report is based on papers and presentations from the International Consultation on Pro-Poor Jatropha Development, which convened from 10-11 April 2008, in Rome, Italy. It includes chapters on jatropha cultivation; seed harvest, processing and uses of jatropha; genetic improvement; and experiences in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. [FAO Report]