Jatropha Cultivation: Here is a detailed information on How to Start Jatropha Cultivation Business in Nigeria.
In the spurge family is a specie of flowering plant called Jatropha curcas.
Euphorbiaceous, which is native to the American tropics especially Mexico and Central America.
Jatropha is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions round the world.
Becoming naturalized in some areas.
It is closely related to other important cultivated plants like rubber, castor etc.
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Jatropha Curcas is otherwise known as the Green Gold.
It is a source of renewable energy.
Which is currently used for bio diesel.
Which fuel standard diesel engines of cars, plants and even air planes.
It has over 200 names for it around the world, which indicates its significance to man, and the various possibilities of its use.
In India for example, Jatropha curcas is found in almost all the states.
And is generally grown as a live fence for protection of agricultural fields from damage by livestock as it is not eaten by cattle or goat.
Furthermore, it is a small tree or shrub with smooth gray bark.
Which exudes a whitish colored, water, latex when cut.
Normally, it grows between three and five meters in height.
But can attain a height of up to eight or ten meters under favourable conditions.
The life span of Jatropha farm is about 40 years.
A hecter of jatropha farm produces fruit of 1.5 ton in the first year, 3.5 ton in the second year and 5 ton in the fifth year.
Jatropha is sold in Nigeria at 80 Naira per kg.
Therefore, 80 x 1.5 ton gives you 120,000 Naira in the first year, 280,000 and 400,000 naira in the 2nd and 5th year respectively.
Assuming the above calculation is based on 10 hecteres.
It will yield 1,200,000, 2,800,000 in the 1st, 2nd year respectively and 4,000,000 till 40 years.
Jatropha is a rugged plant, it can survive up to 3 years of no rainfall and needs little or no pesticide application as it serves as pesticides.
Cultivating Jatropha in Nigeria: An Avenue for Alternative Energy Generation.
Presently, Jatropha is used as aviation fuel.
And powers every standard diesel engine.
Some claimed that GSM companies in Nigeria uses biodiesel to power their base stations but i cannot confirm that.
Most people asked why the jatropha cultivation considering all our crude oil deposit.
We can’t still refine it to meet our demand.
So, start cultivation of jatropha right now. Grow it and sell the fruit which is the crude.
The rising gap between demand and supply of fuel wood leads to fast depletion of forest cover.
So, there is need to search for alternative source of energy derived from non-wood sources.
For the purpose high density plantation of Jatropha, as an energy crop.
May provide energy on regular basis annually for a period of 40-45 years.
Without replanting, unlike other fuel wood crops.
Using an appropriate technology, it is possible to use jatropha as a furnace fuel.
In this way, it can be used to harness electricity generation in a much-decentralized manner.
This would nonetheless go at a lower cost as compared to the prevalent power generation systems today.
Of course, present-day power generation systems require massive infrastructure for power generation and distribution.
Additional Benefits of Jatropha Plant
Apart from the above, the following additional benefits can also be expected:
a) Jatropha oil is a potential substitute for diesel.
It could provide the country cheap and renewable source of energy for transport & power.
It can as a matter of fact, effect sizeable savings on foreign exchange.
b) Jatropha oil possesses a very high saponification value.
It is being exhaustively used for the production of candles, lubricants and soaps.
The protein content in Jatropha oil cake may be used as a raw material for plastic and synthetic fibre.
c) Jatropha plant has high medicinal value.
The latex contained in Jatropha curcas has an alkaloid which is known as Jatrophine.
This alkaloid is used in production of medicines.
- d) Jatropha oil cake is rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and can be used as organic manure.
- e) Jatropha plant is also used for Re-vegetation of denuded hills as well as barren lands.
- It is very good in fighting environmental degradation and pollution.
Therefore, it is a promising and profitable agro forestry crop.
Ensuring optimum utilization of land and manpower.
Owing to its numerous uses, simple and cost-effective technology, with or without irrigation.
Also, it is a crop with low capital investment.
Short gestation period, long productive period.
And unlimited employment potential in rural areas.
Simple method to start a Jatropha Cultivation Business
The development of wastelands through energy plantations.
Biodiesel crops / tree borne oilseeds is known as a thrust area.
For which NABARD is extending 100% refinance to banks at concessional rate of interest.
NABARD is an apex institution responsible for policy formulation.
Planning and operation in the field of agriculture and rural credit.
It actively involved in extending credit support for renewable energy development in rural areas along with other financial institutions.
Jatropha can be planted on degraded lands.
Through Joint Forest Management (JFM), farmer’s field boundaries.
Fallow lands and as agro forestry crop.
It produces oil as a source of energy in the form of biodiesel, Jatropha curcas.
This has been found most suitable due to its various favourable attributes.
Like hardy nature, short gestation period, high oil recovery and quality of oil, etc
Features of Jatropha Curcas plant
Leaves: Jatropha has large green to pale-green leaves, alternate to sub-opposite, three-to-five lobed with spiral phyllotaxis.
Flowers: The flower has the petiole length ranges between 6-23 mm.
The leaf axil is where the inflorescence is formed.
The Jatropha flowers are formed individually and terminally.
The female Jatropha flower is usually slightly larger.
Jatropha occurs most of then, in the hot seasons.
In a situation where continuous growth occurs, an unbalance of pistillate or staminate flower production results in a higher number of female flowers.
Fruits: The Jatropha Fruits are produced in winter.
That is, during the times when the Jatropha shrub is leafless.
Jatropha fruit may produce several crops during the year.
If soil moisture is good and temperatures are sufficiently high.
Every single inflorescence yields a bunch of approximately 10 or more ovoid fruits.
Note that a tree, bi-valved cocci is formed after the seeds mature.
The seeds of jatropha become mature when the capsule changes from green to yellow.
After two to four months from fertilization.
The thin, blackish shelled seeds are usually oblong.
They mostly resemble small castor seeds.
Jatropha curcas grows practically anywhere- even on gravely, sandy and saline soils.
It can thrive on the poorest stony soil. It can propagate effectively, even in the crevices of rocks.
Concerning the climate, Jatropha curcas is found in the tropics and subtropics .
And likes heat, although it does well even in lower temperatures and can withstand a light frost.
Jatropha has an extremely low water requirement.
The plant can withstand a very long period of drought.
It achieves this by shedding majority of its leaves in order to reduce transpiration loss.
It is also suitable for preventing soil erosion and shifting of sand dunes.
It could be easily propagated on massive scale by direct seeding as well as planting stem cuttings.
The Hot and humid weather is preferred for good germination of seed.
The Plants bear fruits in the beginning of winter.
About 5kgs. of seed is adequate to raise one hectare of plantation.
The spacing maintained is about 2m x 2m and for high density planting 2m x 1m distance can be recommended.
The Seeds or cuttings can be directly planted in the main field.
At times the seedlings are grown in poly bags and then transplanted in the main field.
The land should be ploughed once or twice depending upon the nature of soil.
If you adopt direct planting system, the seed/cuttings should be planted in the main field with onset of monsoon at a spacing indicated above.
Besides the organic manure and mixtures.
The fertilizers containing NPK should be applied near the planting hole.
To keep the land free from weeds in the initial stage, 3-4 hand weeding is necessary.
It does not require supplementary irrigation.
Nevertheless, the estimated yield of 1200 kg seed per hectare.
May be obtained from irrigated plantations.
In comparison to 750 kg seed (per hectare) from rainfed plantations.
It is expected from 3rd year onwards.
Note that the economic life of the plant is about 35-40 years.
The Jatropha oil is extracted by hydraulic press method after grinding and steaming of the seed.
Read also: How to Start Garri Business in Nigeria
The unit cost of cultivation of Jatropha curcas in one hectare at an escapement of 3m X 2m i.e., 1666 plants per ha has been worked out at Rs.25,826/- per ha. (Unirrigated condition).
The details of various items of expenditure are viz. land preparation, digging of pits, plant and material, manure and fertilizer, inter culture, watering and plant protection etc.
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