The Hivos Green Entrepreneurship programme has engaged in various pilot biofuel projects in the recent past, mostly involving the Jatropha plant. These aimed to provide additional cash income for small-scale farmers who grow the crops, and may have additional aims, such as adapting engines, converting the pure plant oil into bio-diesel, or even broader goals such as providing the community with renewable energy or fostering the independence of the local economy. These pilot projects were evaluated, and the outcomes, combined with a study on other Jatropha experiences were discussed at an expert meeting held in Utrecht, October 2012.
Biofuel crops such as Jatropha can be profitable for small-scale producers if grown and managed properly, adding food crops during the first years after planting Jatropha and even more so if the oil is processed into other products (e.g. medicine, soap) than exclusively biofuel. Jatropha production is not a silver bullet solution for farmers in developing countries, but where land is abundant and labour is cheap, it can provide additional cash income.
Hivos has published a book on the experience of Jatropha production for smallholders. It is a state of the art publication that brings together insights from projects from all over the world.
On December 18, the book will be launched at an event with a discussion panel at Nieuwspoort in The Hague. You can download the book and the programme from the right sidebar.