Jatropha Curcas L. : A Promising Non-edible Oil Seeds
Jatropha curcas L. is a non-edible oil seeds which grows widely in some areas in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where it is also grow as live fence on the boundaries of fields. Being hardy in nature it can survive in harsh soil and climatic conditions and is a suitable species for wastelands and marginal farm lands. To augment the supply of non-edible oils for industrial uses efforts were made to promote this species as a plantation crop among the farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan through public, cooperative and corporate sectors. However, so far success eluded every where. It was found that though the crop has shown a promise at experimental farm, it failed at the farmers level. Being a new crop, it warranted more intensive follow up by the promoters. The average yield obtained in the initial years by some farmers was less than one-third of the expected. As a result, many growers uprooted the crop after 2-3 years experience. As a result neither the cost of cultivation nor its economics could be established. Whether the cause for failure was improper package of practices or incompatibility of soil could not be ascertained. Whether it would give better results if propagated through cuttings needs to be established. Nevertheless it is potential source of non-edible oil and needs to be promoted for wastelands development. The strategy to promote the crop should include evolving optimum agronomic practices under irrigated and rainfed cultivation. The yield potential may be recorded for direct sowing of seeds and using cuttings. Proper extension service would be crucial especially in the new areas. To realise better returns marketing support at least in the initial years would be necessary. Some arrangements need to be made to ensure disposal of crop produce. Finally, supply of healthy seeds/cutting would be an important factor for the successful adoption and diffusion of this new plantation crop enterprise.
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