Jatropha Curcas produces seeds that can be processed into non-polluting biodiesel that, if properly exploited, can provide opportunities for fair incomes and rural development. The production of Jatropha seeds can assist local farmers to diversify their incomes whereas its by-products (i.e., husks and press cake) can be composted and used as fertilizers or can substitute the harvested fuel-wood (i.e., currently used for cooking and charcoal production).
The introduction or mixture of woody perennials with agricultural crops or pastures, will overcome the competition with food crops; on the other hand the proposed innovative system will improve the overall productivity of the cultivated lands in the involved area. For example, the intercropping Aloe production between the Jatropha rows could ensure additional incomes for the Revenue of Business Plan.
The Jatropha Curcas cultivation will occur by pre-growing of seedlings in dedicated nurseries and direct planting. This plant needs little care and relatively low water requirements; moreover, this species is easily adaptable to marginal areas and moderate regimes of rush. The species byproducts, such as husks and press-cake, after a preliminary treatment, will be used as organic fertilizers or for biomass energy production. Furthermore, an optimization usage of current food crops and practices will be pursued in order to enhance soil conservation (e.g., introduction of nitrogen fixing crops).
All the maintenance activities (i.e., weeding, pruning and fruit harvesting) will be conducted manually by local farmers hired, expressly employed by project participants.
Project sites are selected according to the basic environmental requirements and local soil properties to achieve an optimal growth of the selected species (Jatropha Curcas).
The saplings used during afforestation and enrichment operations are produced in nurseries; in particular, they derive from seeds of local origin. If possible, a part of seeds produced in the nurseries of the first plots will be used to manage the following ones. It will take 3-6 months to have some saplings from the seeds planted in a nursery. The production of Jatropha Curcas seeds starts rapidly in 8-10 months and usually reaches maturity after 5 years, after which the production remains stable for 40-50 years.
Basically, nursery practices will produce saplings through a method based on saplings in seedbeds previously prepared in the soil;
A few small shrubs have already been slashed manually due on site preparation. The soil preparation process will use only manual devices and instruments local people whose work will be supervised by staff members of project participants. The planting activity will take place after the first rain, digging a hole for each seedling and then covering it with the soil.
Jatropha trees are planted in rows. In the project plots had a distance of 3x3 m between saplings. On top of that, planting locations are marked through pits to support the rapid establishment of trees. BIOXAGROPOLE approach to Jatropha Curcas production is to intercrop with Aloe Vera (1200 trees Jatropha and 5000 trees Aloe Vera)
The survival rate of trees will be taken into account and will be measured six months after planting, during the first three years from the starting date of the planting activity, to replace dead or diseased trees as well as ensure a survival rate around 95%.
Prior to the planting, an inspection of each sapling root system is performed in the nursery. Insufficiently developed plants are removed and others are pruned if necessary. Upon planting, the soil surrounding the base of each sapling is compressed to avoid the root death possibly caused by air pockets. Moreover, the planting activity is carried on, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to reduce the effects of sun-related stress on the newly planted saplings. For the same reason, when possible, the planting is carried out during cloudy days.
The fertilization plan is expected to be as presented here below (for each plant):
(a) at the time of relocation, there will be placed both urea and 800 g of pulverized manure;
(b) at the end of the first year, there will be added fertilizers produced from biomass
Provisions will be arranged to protect the plantations against the risk of wild fire. Moreover, there will be implemented occasional initiatives against the grasshoppers, quite widespread in this area. On this purpose, training courses will be provided to villagers in order to enforce these practices effectively on their plantations.
The practice of weeding is very important in the first few years after the plantations establishment in order to reduce the competition from weeds, which are usually better adapted to the local environments than the newly established seedlings; after the first three years the wedding is useless and, consequently, will no longer be performed.
While Jatropha trees are typically renowned for their ability to handle dryness very well (it is possible for them to live almost entirely from the moisture in the air). The Jatropha Curcas trees are no different than any other plant species in the sense that differences in yield depend on availability of rainfall or irrigation water.
Jatropha yields are optimal where annual rainfall is at least 800 mm: the Region’s Dakhla receives an average of less than only 40 mm of precipitation per year. For this reason the project includes the construction of desalination plants, with drip irrigation system to ensure the amount of water necessary the whole year. The desalination plants will be powered with green energy produced by wind farms, biomass energy and solar parc.
BIOXAGROPOLE approach to Jatropha Curcas production is to intercrop with food producing plants, particularly nitrogen fixing crops. This practice provides three major advantages--increased food production from plantation lands, natural weed control, and nitrogen fertilization of the Jatropha Curcas trees. Intercropping with legumes such as soya bean provides two significant collateral advantages--weed control between the Jatropha rows along with nitrogen fixation which replenishes soil nutrients. This reduces the need for fertilizers and facilitates weed control.
The pruning is practiced once a year from the second year onward. It will be performed differently according to the requirements of the growing stage of each tree. While pruning requires experience and is site-specific, a range of common criteria are analyzed before pruning. These criteria include different features of individual trees such as age, crown size, health, branch diameter, and diameter of the stem where lateral branches are growing out from the trunk. The biomass derived from the pruning will be left on the land in case the fire risk mitigation doesn’t require removing. The quantities of wood material deriving from the pruning will be around the following data: 1 kg/tree in the second year, 5 kg/tree in the third year, 10 kg/tree from the fourth year onward.
Fruit harvest will be done manually. The Jatropha Curcas plant and Aloe Vera are fast maturing species that produced the first year of age, and in the same way the collection of hydroponic greenhouse products.
The project pilot is started in India of soc. FG1926 SpA, thought its subsidiary Manipur Food Industries Corporation Ltd (MFICL) in according of the Government of Manipur