Jatropha and Pongamia Rainfed Plantations on Wastelands in India for Improved Livelihoods and Protecting Environment uri icon


  • Jatropha and Pangamia as biodiesel plantations are promoted by a large number of developingand developed countries as a source for generating biodiesel. Achieving food security, meetingthe demand for sufficient food production to cater to the growing demographic pressures thecompetitive demand for water and its scarcity, calls for consideration of the fact that good,productive lands used for food production cannot be diverted for Jatropha and Pongamiacultivation.Results from literature also suggest that when Jatropha is grown on good quality lands, withirrigation and intercropping with baby corn, it is not economically superior to the sole cultivationof baby corn. In order to improve livelihoods of the rural poor by providing opportunities foradditional income from Jatropha and Pongamia plantations, ICRISAT in partnership withCivil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) hasdeveloped a model to rehabilitate degraded common lands in a village. Three hundred haof Jatropha plantation, which is three years old, I,as stOlied producing yield. The grain yieldfram the third year onwards was 100 kg per ha and was expected to reach upto 1000 kg perha by the sixth year. Growing intercrops on areas where good soil existed provided additionalincome for the farmers. The Jatropha and Pongamia plantations on waste lands have notonly created employment in the rural areas but also provided additional sources of incomethrough usufruct rights, by selling Jatropha seeds. Other impacts in terms of social capitaldevelopment, building of institutions in the villages, improving soil health through recycling01 organic matter and enhanced soil water conservation measures, reduced soil erosion andland degradation were also recorded. With the unique institutional mechanisms adopted inthis model for development of CPRs through collective action, landless people were organizedinto self- help groups and took up labour work in the development of degraded commonproperty resources, such as soil and water conservation measures, supported by the project.The District administration of the Government of Andhra Pradesh gave them usufruct rights over the plantation for harvesting the produce. Farmers are growing good quality grass andsuppolting their livestock and feed requirements from grass grown in-between the rows ofplantations. Now, with the support of GTZ and Kirlosker Engineering Pvt Ltd., we areoperationalizing a value-chain model for extracting oil through decentralized electricitygeneration in the village. This model plantation of 300 ha in two villages has set a liveexample of how degraded lands can successfu lly be used for praducing Jatropha andPongamia, without sacrificing good quality land and food security, which is very critical.Results of the social, economic and environmental impacts from this novel, collective actionmodel of required degraded lands, are discussed

publication date

  • 2009