Harnessing the Potential of Jatropha and Pongamia Plantations for Improving Livelihoods and Rehabilitating Degraded Lands uri icon

abstract

  • Current increase in demand of knowledge for alternative sources to fossil fuel has triggeredlot of interest in use of non-edible oils as green knowledge source in de;eloped and developingcountries. ICRISAT is adopting pro-poor bio-fuel strategy to benefit vulnerable sections of thesociety through development of degraded common property resources and individual landswhich are not suitable for food production by adopting consortium approach. Research anddevelopment options for harnessing the potential of Jatropha and Pongamia are undertakento increase productivity of Jatropha and Pongamia plantations. Large vmiability in theaccessions of Jatropha and Pongamia was observed for total oil content varying from 27.4%to 40.6% in case of Jatropha and from 21 to 41 % in case of Pongamia. These accessionsare evaluated for different agronomic characters along with yield potential under rain-fedconditions at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India. Application of nitrogen and phosphorus at differentlevels .indicated that during the 4'h year harvest index (pod to seed ratio) varied from 53-56%with different fertilizer treatment. The plant yield of Jatropha within an accession with 3x2spacing varied upto 1.4 to 1.6 kg ha per plant (2.3 to 2.7 t ho" under rainfed conditions).Water use efficiency of three years old Jatropha plantations indicated that evapo-transpirationdemand under no moisture stress for Jatropha varied from 1150-1350 mm per yem. Underthe semi-arid tropical conditions Jatropha is able to use water relatively 40-57% of nonstresssituation. Intercropping with Jatropha and Pongamia plantations is feasible and evenduring 4'h year in pruned Jatropha plantations with yield of different crops varying from 0.29t ho" in case of green gram to 1.5 t ha" for sorghum. Intercrops like sorghum, pearimillet,pigeon pea, soybean, mung bean, chickpea, sunflower, safflower with Jatropha and pearlmillet and pigeon pea with Pongamia could be successfully grown. An additional income ofRs.5,000 to Rs.16,OOO per ha can be obtained on low-quality (but reasonably able to supportcrop growth) soil.Nutrient budgeting approach can -be used successfully to work aut nutrients requirementneeded to achieve targeted yields in crop like Jatropha_ Fallen leaves quantity and nutrientcontent of Jatropha varied with plant age and fertility treatment and contained 9500 mg Nkg" which is lowest amongst different plant parts such as shoots and seeds as well as deoiledseed cake_ One year plantation returned 16 kg N ha,l and three-year plantation returned 21kg N ha" through fallen leaves_ The fallen leaves also added 1 000 kg ha" organic C to soilin addition to carbon fixed in seeds which will replace fossil fuel C De-oiled seed cake afterextracting necessary oil can be used as plant nutrient source on the farmers' fields, Benefitsof oil seed cake application in terms of increased yields of maize, cotton and other cropswere higher than N applied through mineral fertilizer source

publication date

  • 2009