Jatropha curcas L. Commonly known as physic nut. It belongs to family Euphorbiaceae . It is a deciduous perennial shrub, flowering plant species distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of America, Africa and Asia.Since this plant can grow in waste lands across India and the oil is considered to be an excellent source of biodiesel, its cultivation is being promoted. It is a multiple purpose plant with potential for biodiesel production and medicinal uses. It has been used for treatment of a wide spectrum of ailments related to skin, cancer, digestive, respiratory and infectious diseases.

It can yield for about 50 years. It can grow well on hot weather with little rainfall and it can also grow in poor soils and drought areas. The plant achieves its complete germination after 9 days from the day of sowing seeds. But it has a limitation that is it doesn't tolerate water logged and marshy conditions. It can't be used as animal fodder as it is toxic, but it is edible once the embryo has been removed. Jatropha oil has been used in India for several decades as biodiesel for the diesel fuel requirements of rural and forest communities. Jatropha oil can be used directly after extraction in diesel generators and engines.

Jatropha has the potential to provide economic benefits to farmers as it can grow in non-farm land for income generation. As well, increased Jatropha oil production delivers economic benefits to India on the macroeconomic or national level as it reduces the nation's fossil fuel import bill for diesel production. Minimizing the expenditure of India's foreign currency reserves for fuel allowing India to increase its growing foreign currency reserves. Jatropha oil is carbon -neutral, large scale production will improve the country's carbon emissions profile.

Here no food producing farmland is required for producing this bio-fuel. It is considered the most politically and morally acceptable choice among India's current bio-fuel options, it has no known negative impact on the production of massive amounts grains and other vital agriculture goods India produces to meet the food requirements of its massive population. It also provides employment to the rural poor of India.

Dr. Abdul Kalam had said that out of the 600,000 sq. km of waste land that is available in India over 300,000 are suitable for Jatropha cultivation.

The Indian railways has started to use the oil from the Jatropha plant to power its diesel engines with great success.

Airlines have already begun integration plans for the fuel from Jatropha. With more users come more demands.

If the soils are suitable it has potential to yield up to 2 to 5kg seed per plant once fully grown i.e., it can give yield level from 2 tons to 5 tons per hector per year.

Jatropha has come to stay and farmers are already making loads of cash cultivating it.


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