Jatropha plantations planned for West Africa

By Ron Kotrba | May 01, 2013

Jatropha developer JOil Pte. Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding with West Africa alternative energy grower and jatropha processor Agritech Faso SA. JOil and Agritech will explore the development of more than 600,000 acres of jatropha plantations intercropped with food crops using JOil’s elite, high-yielding jatropha varieties. Field trials will be carried out using JOil’s growing materials at Agritech’s plantations in Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. The two parties will enter into a formal business arrangement based on the results of the trials.

The planned plantations will include not only jatropha crops but also a refinery to produce biofuels, the companies stated, in addition to Agritech’s existing high-efficiency processing plant located in Boni, nearly 150 miles from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital. The footprint is expected to be around 618,000 acres when in full operation. All planting materials will be supplied by JOil, which will also provide technical consultation for the field trials and subsequent development of the plantation.
Agritech’s founding members started to work on biofuel projects in 2007 and the company has identified West Africa as a promising region for cultivation of jatropha, using its proprietary intercropping models. In Sub-Saharan Africa where vegetative cover is scarce, intercropping food crops with jatropha helps to stop soil erosion and restores degraded lands providing a significant increase and sustainability on food crops yields.

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