Cultivation of Jatropha FAQs

1. What is jatropha? Jatropha, commonly known as physic nut or purging nut, is a non-edible oil-yielding perennial shrub that has green leaves with a length and width of 6 centimeters (cm) to 15cm, and can reach a height of up to 5 meters (m). It originated in tropical America and West Asia. Jatropha can grow in various areas in the Philippines. It is known locally as tuba-tuba. Others call it tagumbao, tawa-tawa, kalunay, kasla and tangan-tangan.

2. Are there different types of jatropha? The genus jatropha has 176 species distributed throughout the world. Twelve species, alone, can be found in India.

3. What type of weather is ideal for jatropha? Jatropha grows in tropical and subtropical regions. It is drought-resistant.

4. What type of soil is ideal for jatropha? Jatropha can be planted on any kind of soil. It can grow even in marginal areas. However, low yields have been recorded in low rainfall areas while it can be grown with higher yields in high rainfall/irrigated areas.

5. What are the uses of jatropha? Jatropha is used in traditional medicine. It is likewise used as pesticide, soap and fuel oil for lighting and cooking.

6. What is the productive life of jatropha? Jatropha has a productive life that can span from 35 years up to 50 years.

7. What are the advantages of jatropha over other biodiesel feedstocks?

  • Economics
  • Variety of uses
  • Effects on the environment

8. Is the Philippines ideal for the cultivation of jatropha? Yes.

9. Apart from climatic conditions and soil quality, what can affect the yield of jatropha? Farming techniques. These include fertlizer applications, weeding, and pest and disease management, among others.

10. What lands are suited or have the potential for jatropha plantation?

  • Captive Plantation
  • Hedge Plantation in Farm Land
  • Temporary Crop
  • Idle Land
  • Permanent Crops
  • Meadows, Pastures and Other Lands

11. Do we have sufficient areas for jatropha cultivation vis-a-vis the total area required for jatropha plantation to meet the various biodiesel blends? Yes. Based on 2006 FAO estimates, we have sufficient areas for jatropha cultivation vis-a-vis the total area required for jatropha plantation to meet the various biodiesel blends (1%, 2%, 5%, 10% and 20%).

12. What office is primarily tasked by the government to carry on the business of jatropha? The Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC).

13. Is there a market for jatropha? Yes. With the enactment of the Biofuels Act of 2006, the current local demand for biodiesel, estimated at 980,000 liters per annum, is expected to increase on the average of about 78 million liters in 2007, with a minimum of 1% blend; and 167 million liters by 2009 at 2% blend.

14. How will PNOC-AFC address this estimated demand? The PNOC-AFC came up with an integrated project on the establishment of jatropha mega-nurseries, plantations and biodiesel refineries.

15. Is there an area in the Philippines where an integrated meganursery plantation-biodiesel refinery is possible? Yes. This is in Mindanao.

16. How does one start to propagate jatropha? Jatropha is normally propagated through main propagation (seeds/vegetative cuttings) and micropropagation/ tissue culture.

  • Seeds
  • Vegetative Cuttings
  • Tissue Culture

17. Are nurseries necessary? Yes. Maintaining a nursery is important in developing a jatropha plantation. This increases the rate of survival of the planting material.

18. What is the ideal size of land for planting jatropha? The planting density of 2,500 plants per hectare at 2m x 2m spacing has been found to be optimal under rain-fed conditions.

19. How much is the cost of plantation? Based on the Indian experience of a 2m x 3m spacing with about 1,667 seeds per hectare, the estimated cost of nursery raising and plantation is likely to be P50,000 per hectare.

20. How many seeds are required in planting jatropha? The seed requirement has been calculated based on a 1,667 seedlings per hectare for a 2m x 3m spacing and 2,500 seedlings per hectare for a 2m x 2m spacing.

21. How much is the cost of seeds per kilo? The price of jatropha seeds per kilo varies among localities in the country.

22. How does one go about in planting seedlings? Two-month-old seedlings should be planted in pits (45cm x 45cm x 45cm) at specified spacings.

23. How much is the cost per seedling and per cutting? With very limited sources of jatropha sold locally, per seedling costs P10 to P15; per cutting P5 to P10.

24. There are different varieties of jatropha. Is there such specific variety that could well reproduce enough seeds for the country? Jatropha is grown everywhere in the country and planting materials/seeds may be sourced nationwide.

25. Who are PNOC-AFC’s partners in jatropha plantation? Recognizing the importance of research and development, the PNOC-AFC maintains strong partnership with different institutions.

26. How does one maintain a jatropha plantation? In order to harness the full potential yield of jatropha, plantations should be maintained by providing the required nutrients and need-based irrigation.

27. How many seeds are produced per hectare? Seed yield varies from 5 MT to 7 MT per hectare under different agro-climatic conditions.

28. How much oil can be extracted from a jatropha seed? The oil content in jatropha varies from 30% up to 40% in seed and 40% up to 58% in kernel with good quality seed plantation.

29. What are the issues in the cultivation of jatropha?

  • Plant Stocks
  • Plantation Management


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