Climate change (CC) mitigation is one of the key arguments for promoting jatropha. It has been claimed that cultivation increases the carbon stock when grown on marginal land, and makes additional greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions possible by replacing fossil diesel with biofuels. It was demonstrated that bioenergy from jatropha can generate GHG savings of more than 40% compared with fossil fuels. Biodiesel produced from jatropha oil has a potential effect to reduce the danger of carbon dioxide and to fight against global CC. To get the full benefit one million ha of jatropha plants would have to been grown every year. The industries that use the plant and its products are ready to prove the promising advantages of using the crop.
IITA in collaboration with its partner, the Center for Information, Research & Action for the Promotion of Farmers Initiatives (CIRAPIP), has initiated the project Development of jatropha-based biofuel value chain in Benin. This project, funded by the Netherlands Embassy in Benin, has shown that in the socio-economic and agroecological context of Benin it is possible to successfully develop value chains based on jatropha. The project is working in five localities in central and southern Benin with the following outputs:
- Development of agroforestry cropping system including jatropha and food crops to improve soil fertility;
- Development and diffusion of control methods for major jatropha pests and diseases;
- Installation of three presses for jatropha grain processing in three agroecological zones;
- Establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms to support the value chains and meet the market demand;
- Development of local techniques for extracting and processing jatropha oil for household use;
- Use of electricity generators powered by jatropha oil for public and domestic lighting;
- Valorization and use of jatropha by-products (hulls, cake, and sediment) by rural communities;
- Development of small agribusinesses basically by young men and women. (recharge of mobile phones, production and sale of jatropha-based soaps, collection and commercialization of jatropha seeds, etc.,).
Brice Gbaguidi: Agroeconomist, B.Gbaguidi@cgiar.org