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The Jatropha Organisation of South Africa


Our Mission is to:

  • Provide Jatropha as an alternative, renewable and sustainable form of energy.

  • To reduce dependence on fossil fuels in mitigation of Climate Change.  See http://350.org

  • Source and encourage South African Farmers to plant Jatropha on their land.

  • Promote & Co-ordinate Jatropha Development and Investment opportunities in multiple geographic locations of Southern Africa and especially in decentralized rural communities towards the purpose of Socio-Economic Development and the alleviation of poverty.


                                     Jatropha Curcas L in Southern Africa


The Jatropha Organization of South Africa is dedicated to the development of Jatropha in South Africa as an alternative, renewable and sustainable form of energy. The organization is seeking to lobby the Government to support farmers with Jatropha plantations on their land because Jatropha has all the requirements of an energy crop and is thus eligible as a contributor towards adaptation to climate change. The establishment of large plantations will reduce green house gas emissions and create major carbon sinks. Jatropha is well known to absorb 100 % of the emissions created by burning it. As a clean, renewable and alternative source of fuel in South Africa Jatropha will create numerous business and employment opportunities in response to its contribution to climate change.

The Jatropha Plant is grown to produce Jatropha seed which is used to make Jatropha Biodiesel. Jatropha seeds produce between 35% and 37% of their mass in oil and this is why the Jatropha tree is commonly referred to as the Biodiesel Jatropha Plant.

The Jatropha tree is cultivated to about 3 meters high and produces seed that contain an inedible vegetable oil that's used to produce biodiesel and other oil related products.

We are all aware of directives that require a minimum level of biofuel as a proportion of fuels sold. There are however insufficient raw materials (feedstock) for making biodiesel and other biofuel to run the economy in accordance with these directives.

It is therefore up to Farmers to take full advantage of this lucrative opportunity because whether you like it or not Biodiesel is going to happen. Infinite Wisdom has is that  'Necessity is the Mother of Invention' - Plato (427 BC - 347 BC).

You may plant 1667 trees per hectare at 3 x 2m apart for commercial purposes. With good planning, quality planting material, standard farming practices and good crop management Jatropha should yield approximately 10 tons of seed per hectare from the fifth year onwards. (That is 10,000kgs of seed per hectare) At an extraction rate of 35% you will get 3.5 tons of oil. (That’s is 3,500kgs of oil per hectare) The specific density of Jatropha Oil is .916kgs per liter.  Therefore 3500 divided by .916 = 3821 liters per hectare.

This is not to say that farmers should discontinue their current farming endeavors. Jatropha may also be planted at  2 to 4m apart. In cooler climates  it actually does better with trees spaced at larger distances apart. Well spaced trees will receive more sunlight and therefore do much better. The advantage is that you will be able to retain animals to keep the grass down or plant other food crops in between.

Intercropping. Jatropha is a natural nitrogen fixer when planted along with other crops in symbiosis.  Jatropha has in fact increased food production in third world countries where non cultivated land has been developed. This dismisses the widely held view that Jatropha has or will displace food crops.

Jatropha has all the following qualities:

• It is drought resistant.

• It can be grown almost anywhere even in sandy, saline or otherwise infertile soil.

• It adapts well to marginal soils  with low nutrient content.

• It is relatively easy to propagate.

• It is not invasive, damaging, or spreading like Black Wattle or Pine.

• It is capable of stabilizing sand dunes, acting as a windbreak or combating


* It is excellent for the rehabilitation of mine lands.

• It naturally repels insects and animals do not browse it.

• It lives for over 50 years producing seeds and clean oxygen all the time.

• It does not exhaust the nutrients in the land.

• It does not require expensive crop rotation.

• Once established it provides its own fertiliser.

• It grows quickly and establishes itself easily.

• It can provide a high yield with standard farming practices.

• No displacement of food crops is necessary.

• It is great for developing countries in terms of energy and jobs.

• The biodiesel byproduct, glycerin, is profitable in itself.

• The waste plant mass after oil extraction can be used as a fertilizer.

• The plant itself recycles 100% of the CO2 emissions produced by burning the biodiesel.

The above positive attributes are not necessarily vested in all Jatropha undertakings neither should the plant be strictly subjected to the valorisation (increase in value) of capital. (The view of our Government) The fundamental principles to be considered are Economics, Environment, Social Criteria and Climate Change. Investment in Jatropha Plantations may therefore be carried out for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Socio Economic Upliftment: Energy supply and employment in remote rural areas. Social stability and containment of migration and crime.

2. Combating desertification: Ability to grow in arid areas to halt the encroachment of deserts.

3. Replenishment of Degraded Land: Organic Fertilizer and Nitrogen Fixer. Rehabilitation of mine lands.

4. Control of wind and water erosion: Acts as a windbreaker. The shade afforded keeps the ground moist and so do the leaves that fall in winter.

5. A living fence that stock will not eat.

6. Biomass: Leaves, Prunings, Husks and Seedcake are all returned to the soil.

7. Climate Change: Grown for over 30-50 years NOT for the purpose of being cut down or harvested and replanted annually whilst providing clean oxygen all the time. Jatropha plantations form a Carbon Sink. (A Carbon Sink is a forest, ocean or other natural environment that has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.)

8. Biofuel: Creates energy from land without large inputs.

9. Farm Energy Supply: A farmer can ascribe a portion of his land to service his own fuel needs.

10. Commercial Enterprise: Investment in Jatropha Farms in return for a profit.

A Jatropha project is thus part of a larger and long term strategy in that it will lead to the establishment of Jatropha Farms, Food Crops, an Oil Extraction Industry and the manufacture of biodiesel & other related products while contributing to Climate Change and Socio Economic Development.

There are three aspects to a Jatropha Enterprise:

1. Jatropha Farming

2. Jatropha Oil Extraction.

3. Jatropha Biodiesel Making


Here are some pictures of our Nursery in Sandton taken on the 5th January 2015. These Jatropha saplings are healthy and proliferous..ready for outplanting and some for sale.


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    Today's Date: 01/09/2015 03:35

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350.org is building a global climate movement. Their online campaigns, grassroots organizing and mass public actions are coordinated by a global network that is active in over 188 countries.

To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm. The number 350 means climate safety and that's how 350 Org got its name.

350.org believes that a global grassroots movement can hold leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. The movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world and uniting to create solutions that will ensure a better future for all.

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