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02 Jun 2009 12:06:05

Friends of the Earth questions jatropha benefits



Friends of the Earth questions jatropha benefits
Biofuels produced from jatropha are being touted as a significant step forward for alternative fuel, however a new report has warned that the 'wonder crop' may be negatively impacting global food production.

Jatropha has been in the headlines this week after details were revealed of a test flight by Air New Zealand in which a mix of the biofuel and Jet A1 delivered a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

However, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has published a new report which investigated claims that the crop is capable of growing on poor-quality land that is not required for arable farming.

Researchers found that jatropha can grow in semi-arid land, although yields under such conditions are unlikely to be sufficient for farmers to make a profit.

What's more, FoE claimed that the crop can require regular watering, which is posing problems for farmers in Swaziland where lack of water is an issue.

Such factors have encouraged some farmers in the country to begin growing jatropha on land set aside for food, the report warned.

"It is shameful that this so-called wonder crop is replacing food production in a country where two thirds of the population depend on food aid," said Hannah Griffiths, biofuels campaigner at FoE.

"The EU must assess the damage being done by jatropha as part of its biofuels review next year."

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/jatropha_wonder_cro...

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Discussion Thread  

09 Oct 2009

I agree that where land and climate combine to be well suited to food production, then food production is the priority. However it would be best not to tarnish Jatropha as one of the biofuel solutions to meeting energy demands.

In those developing nations with a lot of marginal land, and where there are two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year, then Jatropha can help provide a revenue for otherwise poor rural communities. Village communities which control large areas of poor land, but have short rainy seasons, would be deprived of a means of creating some wealth by growing Jatropha, if the reputation of this non-food biofuel crop was to be wrongly tarnished. It is not Jatropha which is 'bad'. I believe it is 'bad to grow food based biofuels on good quality land well suited to food. So blame the practice of un-zoned biofuels planting by all means. However leave open the opportunity for rural communities to use their currently non productive land for an additional crop that does not distort food prices. Jatropha can help countries like ghan reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. i welcome the views of other on this.




Discussion Thread  

 


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