Jatropha farming profit in India | Jatropha biodiesel farming in Maharashtra

Jatropha belongs to the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae and it is a genus of flowering plant. Euphorbiaceae is a flowering family also known as euphorbias.  The name is derived from Greek words Jatros meaning “physician” and trophe meaning “nutrition” ; the common is physic nut. Nettle spurge is another common name of jatropha. Jatropha contains approximately 170 species of succulent plants, trees and shrubs. 66 species found in the old world and are native to America. Succulent plants are house plants and mostly used as ornamental plants. The Jatropha plant produces separate male and female flower species. Jatropha plants contain high toxic compounds that can affect people and animals badly if consumed with more than two raw seeds. Traditionally jatropha species are being used in basket making, tanning and dye production. Jatropha plant is used as a biodiesel form and also has medicinal importance when used as lamp oil. Jatropha curcas Is also used as a carbon sequestration plant in arid regions.

Advantages of jatropha crop

  • Climate tolerant capacity is one of the biggest advantages of jatropha crops.
  • Jatropha crops can easily grow in poor soil, adverse weather, low rainfall and drought areas.
  • Jatropha can grow in such lands where other crops are not able to grow.
  • Less care or almost no care is required in jatropha cultivation in Nigeria, Karnataka, Florida or anywhere in the world. 
  • Jatropha plants can be grown in barren lands as well as fertile land.
  • Jatropha crops have soil erosion capacity. Hence, it is beneficial for the next crop as well.
  • Waste land soil fertility can be increased through hemp plantation or by jatropha plantation. 
  • Jatropha plants can continuously produce the income upto 30 years. 
  • Jatropha has a medicinal plant quality as well as industrial plant quality.
  • Jatropha is a good source of biodiesel. 
  • Jatropha plant oil is  majorly used in preparing biodiesel.
  • Vegetable oil is mixed with biodiesel to run vehicles like truck trains, buses etc.
  • Jatropha oil is also used in machines like generators, agriculture machines, electricity etc.

Disadvantages of Jatropha crop

  • Jatropha plants contain several toxic compounds.
  • Jatropha seed contains highly poisonous toxalbumin curcin. 
  • Jatropha plant SAP is skin irritant.
  • consumption of 2 to 3 untreated seeds could be fatal to humans. However, seeds can be eaten after roasting. Roasting reduces some of the toxins.
  • 2005 Australia banned jatropha gossypifolia due to being invasive and highly toxic to humans and animals.
  • According to 2009 research jatropha biodiesel production requires more water in comparison to other biofuel crops.

Jatropha plants can produce oil that is used in making biodiesel and this creates a big opportunity to farmers however jatropha farming is yet to be considered as profitable farming. Recently in September 2021 Indian central government has reduced the GST on biodiesel from 15 % to 5% only. This step can be appreciated by jatropha farmers because it will reduce the cost of making biodiesel per litre and this will slightly change the biodiesel making process which will directly affect jatropha cultivation cost in India. Usually the jatropha is grown by most farmers at the boundary of their farms to protect their crops from animals. However, there are lots of challenges in the jatropha biofuel industry. Still, jatropha biofuel production is increasing day by day which is a good sign for jatropha cultivation profit. 

Is jatropha farming profitable

Jatropha is majorly cultivated in wasteland and it has a great demand for biodiesel. Today jatropha is mainly considered profitable in wasteland because no other productive crops apart from jatropha and hemp can be cultivated in barren land. Moreover, hemp cultivation is not legalized in the entire India so farmers basically use jatropha for extra income. Jatropha is grown as a fence for protection of agriculture crops from the animals. If you have waste land or barren land then you can surely cultivate jatropha for profit on that land and you can earn nearly Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 per acre from jatropha plantation from the 4th year. Thus your barren land can be utilized and it can produce some income. Moreover, the jatropha crop improves the soil fertility for the next crop.   

Jatropha Species

  • Jatropha acanthophylla 
  • Jatropha bullockii
  • Jatropha cardiophylla 
  • Jatropha unicostata 
  • Jatropha podagrica
  • Jatropha nudicaulis
  • Jatropha multifida
  • Jatropha macrantha 
  • Jatropha integerrima 
  • Jatropha gossypifolia 
  • Jatropha elliptica 
  • Jatropha dioica 
  • Jatropha curcas
  • Jatropha costaricensis 
  • Jatropha chemelensis 
  • Jatropha cathartica 

Local name of Jatropha

Jatropha plant has more than 200 different names whereas most common names of jectofer are purgining tree, physic nut, curcas nut and jatropha hindi name is Ratanjot.

How to start a jatropha cultivation

You need to follow the below given steps including climate, water, soil, propagation method, irrigation, soil ph etc to start the cultivation of jatropha crop. 

Jatoba climate requirements

Jatropha thrives well in tropical regions because it is a tropical plant. Jatropha hates water logging and frost conditions. 

Jatropha Soil requirements

The Specialty of just for crop is it can  survive in almost all types of soil. It can easily grow in poor soil, stony soil, rock soil or any other soil. Moreover, this crop does not require any land preparation before jatropha curcas plantation in Philippines, Canada, India or anywhere globally.  

Jatropha soil pH

Ph range 5.4 to 8.4 

Jatropha water requirements

Jatropha crops do not demand for much water, this plant can easily survive in low rainfall areas as well. 

Irrigation in jatropha farming

Jatropha water requirements - These plants do not demand for high water hence easily grow in the low water fall region like Rajasthan therefore much irrigation is not required in jatropha farming. Soil moisture is created naturally by fallen leaves. 

Method of propagation of jatropha

seeds and stem cuttings are two basic jatropha propagation methods.

How to grow jatropha from seed

Jatropha propagation from seed is basically used in commercial farming of jatropha. This crop requires a hot and humid climate for the sowing process which automatically results in good germination. 

Follow the given steps for better jatropha yield per acre

  • Select quality jatropha seeds - Selecting quality seed is the first step to achieve good and healthy yield. Select good quality plump seed for the sowing process and your seed selection will decide the average germination time of any crop. 
  • Seed treatment process -  Prepare a cow dung solution and soak the seed in this solution for at least 10 to 12 hours, you can use wet gunny bags for this process for a 10-12 hour period. 
  • Seeds sown in poly bags - Generally 15 cm x 25 cm poly bags filled with soil are selected for the seed sowing process. However, you can directly sow the seeds in the land. 
  • Add FYM - Add soil, sand and well decomposed farm yard manure in the ratio of 1 : 1 : 1 respectively. 
  • Seeds for 1 hectare - 6 to 7 kg seed is enough for 1 hectare land. 

Through seed propagation It takes more time to produce fruits. On the other hand the fruits stay longer in the crop via seed propagation. 

How to grow jatropha from cuttings

Ploughing process - Two to three ploughing are required to prepare the land; it also depends on the soil type. If the soil is hard and rocky it demands 3 or more ploughing and if the soil is sandy or loamy then 2 ploughing is enough. 

  • Spacing - Spacing of 3m x 2m
  • Pits size - 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm
  • Filling of pits - Fill these pits with topsoil and organic manure of 500 gram farm yard manure (FYM) and add 100 gram jatropha oil cake or neem cake and also add 100 gram super phosphate. 
  • Fence plantation - If the plants are planted as a hedgerow or at fence then lesser spacing is required.  

Manure and fertilizer for jatropha plants

What fertilizer to use for Jatropha

Fertilizer for jatropha plants - During planting time 2kg compost needs to be added in each pit according to the soil. 

  • FYM - 4 - 5 kg Farmyard manure along with NPK.
  • NPk need to be applied near the plant just before the monsoon,
  • Superphosphate required at the rate of 125  kg per/hectare
  • NPK - one dose in this ratio 20:120:60 kg. This NPK ratio needs to provide per year after 1st year 
  • Superphosphate - Add 125 kg superphosphate to the given dose after 3rd year. 

Disease of jatropha

Not too many diseases are found in jatropha plants. 

Color root disease - This disease may attack Budget for crops in the beginning. It can be controlled by the application of 1 % Bordeaux mixture drenching.

Intercropping in jatropha cultivation

Intercropping in jatropha cultivation can create extra income opportunities for farmers.  suitable intercrops are given below

Vegetable crops 

  • Green gram
  • Green chilli
  • bitter gourd
  • Black gram
  • Pumpkin
  • Ash Gourd 
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato

Aroma plants

  • Vanilla
  • Patchouli 
jatropha plant

Jatropha Plant Image - credit pixabay.com

Harvesting of jatropha cultivation

  • Jatropha flowering time -  Jatropha starts flowering after 9 to 12 months after the sowing period.
  • Jatropha yield by seeds - It takes nearly 9 to a year to produce fruits after sowing the seeds of jatropha. 
  • Jatropha yield by plant cuttings - It takes only 6 - 7 months when the crop is propagated through plant cuttings. Jatropha plant cutting propagation method is much faster than jatropha seed propagation method. 
  • Economic yield - You can expect economic yield performance by your jatropha plant after 3 years. 
  • Jatropha seed collection - Jatropha seeds can be collected by dried pods and later these pods are also used for the seed separation process. Moreover, seeds are separated manually and by machines. 
  • Seed drying process - Seeds need to be dried for 5 to 6 days to reduce the moisture level before packaging. 

Marketing of jatropha

You have to contact local oil seed companies, herbal & medicinal companies,  pharmaceutical companies etc. Some of the herbal and medicinal company names are given below :

  • Patanjali Ayurveda 
  • Himalaya Herbals
  • Baidyanath Pharmaceutical 

What are the uses of jatropha

Jatropha uses in India

  • Jatropha stems are used for making baskets in Sonora by seri people. 
  • Spicy Jatropha (J. integerrima) is cultivated as an ornamental plant. 
  • Buddha belly plant (J. podagrica) was used to produce red dye and also used in tan leather process in the USA. It is also used as a houseplant.
  • Jatropha curcas biodiesel production is one of the major advantages of jatropha plants.
  • Jatropha curcas is converted into biodiesel and this jatropha curcas biodiesel is mainly used in diesel engines. 
  • Jatropha oil extraction process usually produces jatropha cake and this protein rich product can be used for animal or fish feed but after detoxifying. 
  • Jatropha oil cake fertilizer is rich fertilizer. 
  • Jatropha oil biogas can be produced after an elaborate process. Moreover, jatropha used as biofuel and also appreciated as a jatropha biofuel plant. 
  • Curcas of jatropha is responsible for producing biofuel. 
  • It is also used to power electricity plants as it is a biomass feedstock and It can produce biogas. 
  • According to Goldman Sachs, an American multinational bank, the Jatropha circus will become one of the best sources for biodiesel production in the future.  
  • After the oil extraction process, remaining jatropha cake seeds can be considered for energy production.

Jatropha cultivation FAQ

What are the benefits of jatropha cultivation?

  • You can easily grow jatropha plants in reverse or adverse weather.
  • India has lots of barren lands and if you also have barren land then you can earn extra income through jatropha farming.
  • Jatropha can be grown at the boundaries of the farms to protect the crops from animals.
  • The jatropha plant improves soil fertility and productivity.
  • Jatropha oil is used in biodiesel hence, creates immense opportunities for jatropha farming in India. Advantages of jatropha as biofuel are somehow hidden by lots of farmers but in future jatropha cultivation can be a turning point for farmers.

What is carbon sequestration in agriculture?

Carbon sequestration is the long-term removal of carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere. Jatropha is the carbon sequestration plant that is helpful to mitigate or reverse climate change.

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel derived from plants or animals. 

How long does jatropha take to grow?

Jatropha plant needs 6 months to grow when it is propagated by plant cuttings, otherwise it takes more than 9 months from the sowing period when it is propagated by seeds. However, jatropha can produce a good amount of yield after 3 years or we can say for commercial jatropha yield one has to wait for at least 3 years. Jatropha yielding can produce a better income when used as a source of biodiesel.

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