Experts For Cautious Approach On Jatropha Plantation In AP.
July 21: While the Andhra Pradesh government has declared
about 15 lakh hectares of land for growing jatropha and kanuga
plants for producing biodiesel oil over a period of five years,
industry experts opine that this a hasty decision.
reason: the knowledge levels are very low or almost non-existent
right from the availability of saplings to the plantation practices.
To top this, there are unrealistic expectations of a massive
output of biodiesel with hardly anything on the ground.
the government has decided to promote nursery activities on
a mission mode, the saplings are expected to be available only
during the month of November-December. By then the rainy season
would have been over and the saplings are unlikely to survive
due to lack of required water.
to YS Ramakrishna, director of Central Research Institute for
Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), "there are no seeds at this
moment for such a huge capacity."
out import of seeds due to quarantine restrictions, he said
that though there are extraction technologies in the country,
there are not enough seeds for these plants to cover over 15
of the huge subsidies offered by the government, there is also
a possibility of a shift in cultivation methods from agricultural
produce to biodiesel plants in the same cultivable lands.
the production and buyback front, it is too early and still
in the experimental stages, he said adding that the small and
medium farmers are left a confused state whether to opt for
their regular agricultural crops or go in for jatropha or kanuga
package of practices for cultivating these kind of plants is
still not known to our farmers," said Mr. Srinivas, Managing
Director of Tree Oils Ltd.
Srinivas, who has about 50-acres of Jatropha plants, is still
trying to get proper information from the research institutions
for various issues in the cultivation including pest attacks
there was not a single research done so far on cultivation in
huge capacities, he said.
last year, the Maharashtra government had decided to fell about
26,000 hectares of jatropha plants as a the inter-space was
reduced a considerably thus leading to overcrowding and causing
faster pest multiplication.
it is better if we do it I gradually, wait for about six months
to get the saplings ready by next May and undertake model plantations
and trials, Mr. Srinivas said.
other industry officials pointed out an interesting fact that
processing facilities are mushrooming near the Kakinada port
for refining crude palm and 'rename' it as biodiesel oil. This
could be one of the options for a faster buck as growing these
plants take nearly 10 years to become bulk raw materials which
is a lengthy gestation period for massive production.
the state government has deputed a three member team along with
the CRIDA director to procure 10 tonnes of seeds from Orissa
and commence the plantation activities. It still to be seen
what amount of seeds will germinate or remain buried in the