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Researchers to discuss jatropha and other biofuel trees at World Congress on Agroforestry

Jatropha in Kiambere, Eastern Kenya – Photo by Isaiah Esipisu

Jatropha in Kiambere, Eastern Kenya – Photo by Isaiah Esipisu

At least three research papers to be presented at the World Congress on Agroforestry will deal with Jatropha curcas, a tree that was once promoted in Africa as a biodiesel source, but disappointed many small-scale farmers.

One of the papers, ‘Agroforestry – a promising option for tree borne oil seeds production,’ argues that the major constraint in farming oilseeds is the lack of accurate information about the cultivation practices of particular species, their potential yields and income-generating potential.

Dr P. Kumar of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and co-authors say a systematic approach backed by scientifically validated information is necessary to inform the promotion of oilseed species.

In another presentation, ICRAF scientist Miyuki Iiyama and colleagues will analyse the factors that adversely affected the value chain of jatropha in Africa. This post-assessment of the evidence is expected to provide important lessons from the past, as well as insights into future biofuel development in Africa.

In a third presentation, Balakrishna Gowda and colleagues will show how non-edible oil seed trees and crops can be important in multipurpose agroforestry systems. Based on a successful model developed and implemented in the state of Karnataka, India, the scientists will argue that the adoption of “multispecies consortia” of non-edible oilseed trees, including jatropha, supports productivity in food crops, and produces biodiesel for local use. Furthermore, the trees can be used to improve soil health, produce animal feeds, and so on.
By Isaiah Esipisu

Edited by D. Ouya

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