Jatropha – Plant With A Future
The Jatropha related research & development initiatives being pursued by the crop science entities detailed in this report hold out the hope that Jatropha might surpass all other major crops, with the exception of oil palm, in $ revenue yield per ha. The ‘Plant With A Bad Name’ will not be redeemed immediately, while the 2020s are likely to be its decade of recognition, we expect that new ventures and
professional farmers will begin to plant the crop progressively during the second half of this decade. The investment of more than US$100m to date in its development is beginning to reveal the potential for this plant to play an important role in the global agricultural economy.
It is not an overstatement that some of the most distinguished scientists in molecular biology & genetics, and some of the most experienced crop scientists in the world, are now united in researching and developing Jatropha curcas. The development of the crop is still in its early stages. The plant’s biology and genetic profile have been subjected to intense scrutiny as molecular & genetic scientists collaborate with agronomists to breed & develop Jatropha cultivars suitable for large scale mechanised farming.
Evidence is mounting in support of Jatropha’s potential to become an important agricultural crop with the capacity to compete with Sorghum, Maize & Cotton for perhaps more than 11 million hectares of arable land across a belt of the Earth between the oil palm belt and 20° of the Equator.
The organisations driving the science & development of commercial Jatropha cultivars are potentially valuable entities in themselves. Not only are the leading entities described herein developing important new commercial planting material, they are also developing enabling technologies with application to a wider range of horticultural species. Some are creating valuable proprietary technologies & processes, of which a number are the subject of patent filings. The most successful will likely attract the attention of the global crop science companies, but they may also be able to contemplate a longer term future built on royalty income and profit share in commercial Jatropha projects.
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