Jatropha wonder crop by pengxiuhui

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									Friends of the Earth May 2009




        Jatropha: wonder crop?
        Experience from Swaziland




    1     Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
t


        CONtENtS


        ExEcutivE SuMMary                                                       3
           Summary of contested claims                                           4

        rEcoMMEndationS                                                         5

        introduction                                                            6


        d1 oiLS                                                                 7
           D1 Oils in Swaziland                                                  7

        ExpEriEncE FroM SWaZiLand                                               8
           Grows well on marginal land?                                          9
           High yields on poor soil?                                            10
           Water Use – biofuels grown in drought conditions?                    11
           Noxious and Invasive - Is Jatropha safe?                             11
           Resistant to Disease?                                                12
           Environmental risk?                                                  12
           Development opportunities for poor communities?                      13
           A fair deal for farmers?                                             14
           Energy sovereignty for Swaziland?                                    14


        concLuSionS                                                             15

        rEFErEncES                                                              16




        Written by Helen Burley and Hannah Griffiths for Friends of the Earth
        Editorial team: Adam Bradbury, Anthony Loizou
        Graphic Design: Mario Stifano




    2       Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    EXECUtIVE SUMMARY

    the search for alternatives to fossil          Local non-go vernment
    fuel has seen a rush towards               organisations (NGOs) have raised
    biofuels. this is contributing to rising   concerns about the social and
    food prices and increasing concern         environmental impacts of jatropha
    about our ability to grow enough food      and studies have questioned some
    and fuel. Despite social and               of the claims made about jatropha’s
    environmental concerns and                 benefits. this report highlights
    unproven climate benefits of biofuels,     those concerns for media and policy
    the EU has set a target of 10 per cent     makers and questions some of the
    road of transport fuel to come from        claims being made by D1 Oils and
    biofuels by 2020.                          others for biofuel from jatropha.
       Against this backdrop, jatropha             this report looks at D1 Oils’
    (Jatropha curcas) has been promoted        activities in Swaziland, one of the
    by UK biofuel company D1 Oils as a         countries where the company is
    wonder crop because of the plant’s         leading the development of jatropha
    ability to grow on marginal and            plantations. the report is based on
    semi-arid land, saying “it will not        first-hand evidence from farmers
    compete with food crops for good           involved with D1 Oils and desk
    agricultural land”.1                       research on the impacts of jatropha.
                                               By revealing major problems with
                                               jatropha production as a biofuel crop,
                                               this report poses questions for policy
                                               makers who are relying on the plant
                                               as a part of a future sustainable
                                               biofuel mix.




                                                Jatropha seeds contain a non-edible oil that can be used to make biodiesel
                                                                                                                             Dreamstime




3        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    SuMMary oF contEStEd cLaiMS


     Grows well on marginal land?                 Noxious and invasive – is jatropha        Energy sovereignty for Swaziland? d1
     A key D1 Oils claim about the benefit        safe? Although jatropha has been          Oils has said that by planting jatropha,
     of jatropha above other biofuel crops        planted for many years in Swaziland       Swaziland could be producing its own
     is that it grows well on “marginal” or       for use as hedges and soap, it is         biodiesel. However, under current
    “waste” land and so does not compete          classified as an invasive species and     legislation, any biodiesel produced
    with food production. Swazi NGOs,             a noxious weed in other countries for     cannot be distributed in Swaziland
     however, have documented cases of            containing carcinogenic substances        and will be exported.
     farmers turning good quality land over       and presenting a significant human              this report concludes that
     to jatropha cultivation under contract       and animal health risk.3                  jatropha is not likely to be a silver
     by D1 Oils, instead of that land being                                                 bullet that will help the UK and EU
     used to grow food crops for people who       Resistant to disease? Swazi NGOs          meet their biofuel targets sustainably
     lack food security. Written studies back     have documented cases of farmers          or solve the world’s energy needs.
     up these concerns. For example, the          who have reported problems with pests the oil yield from jatropha when it is
     Gallagher Review, a comprehensive            even though farmers say D1 Oils told      grown on marginal or waste land with
     report by the Renewable Fuels Agency2        them they wouldn’t need pesticides. Be- no water, fertiliser or pesticide input
     analysing the indirect effects of biofuels   cause jatropha has never been used as is at best uncertain. the high yields
     production, finds that without regulation    a commercial crop before, there is no     needed to make jatropha commer-
     there is nothing to prevent crops like       local knowledge about how to control      cially viable as a biofuel crop are far
     jatropha from being grown on                 pests and farmers have complained         more likely to be obtained when it is
     high-quality arable land.                    that D1 Oils has refused to help them.    planted on fertile irrigated land. this
                                                                                            could mean that widespread jatropha
    High yields on poor soil? Linked to the       Environmental risk? In April 2008 the     plantations for biodiesel compete with
    marginal land issue, a second sup-            government of Swaziland suspended         food production for fertile
    posed key benefit of jatropha is that it      all further planting as no environmental  agricultural land.
    yields a high oils content even on poor       risk assessment had been undertaken             While jatropha is not a food crop,
    quality soil. However, studies show           over jatropha planting.                   the use of the plant for biofuels still
    considerable variation in the potential                                                 raises issues about competition with
    oil yield for jatropha, with much higher      Development opportunities for poor        land use and food production. the
    yield indicated when it is grown on           communities? More than 80 per cent of experience from Swaziland, backed
    better-quality soil. Swazi NGOs have          the Swazi population depend on sub-       up by various scientific studies,
    documented farmers complaining                sistence farming and many have suf-       implies that policy makers in the EU
    that the jatropha isn’t growing well in       fered because of the severe drought in    and UK need to treat jatropha with
    drought conditions. Other studies back        recent years. D1 Oils has said that rural the same degree of rigour as other
    up these concerns. For example, the           communities will significantly benefit    biofuel crops.
    Overseas Development Institute (ODI)          through jatropha planting. Evidence of
    suggests that jatropha is unlikely to de-     farmers enriched by jatropha cultivation
    liver the promised yields if grown only       is hard to find, however. Studies have
    on marginal land.                             found that jatropha is only likely to be
                                                  viable as a small-scale crop and the
    Low water use – biofuels grown in             ODI has said that it looks unlikely to be
    drought conditions? It is claimed by          a mainstay of people’s livelihoods. the
    the biofuels industry that it possible to     potential of jatropha for poor communi-
    grow jatropha in the desert and D1 Oils       ties is also linked to whether claims
    is currently carrying out research in         about yields on marginal land are rea-
    Saudi Arabia. In Swaziland, however,          lised, yet, as noted above, these claims
    some farmers are complaining that             are contested.
    jatropha needs to be watered once or
    even three times a week and that water        A fair deal for farmers? Swazi NGOs
    collection for jatropha crop is competing     have raised concerns over the contracts
    with collection for domestic use such as      issued to farmers by D1 Oils. these
    cooking and sanitation. No full studies       include that farmers could not read
    have been carried out on the overall          or understand the contracts, that they
    impact of on water levels of intensive        were not left copies of the contract and
    jatropha cultivation, but evidence sug-       that the contracts cannot be terminated
    gests that jatropha will not                  for several years.
    thrive unless irrigated.




4        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    RECOMMENDAtIONS

•	 The	European	Commission	must	             If UK speed limits were lowered        there is an appropriate regulatory
   include a thorough analysis of            we could reduce emissions by           framework in place to ensure that
   jatropha in its 2010 report on            as much as 5.4 million tonnes          biofuels produced from jatropha
   indirect land use change due to           of carbon dioxide a year as well       are not competing with food
   biofuel production;                       as improving our energy security       production.
                                             and saving lives.6 If European
•	 The	UK	Government	to	carry	out	           politicians made manufacturers       •	 In line with the principles of
   an urgent review into the current         double the average fuel efficiency      corporate responsibility, and in
   impacts of biofuels in developing         of new cars it could save 95            order for the directors of D1 Oils
   countries for crops such as jatropha.     million tonnes of carbon dioxide a      plc to meet their obligations under
                                             year across the EU.7                    section 172 of the Companies
•	 The	EU	and	UK	should	put	                                                         Act 2006, D1 Oils should cease
   biofuel targets on hold until it        •	 The	UK	Government	and	the	EU	          all jatropha biofuel production
   can be proven that they can                should heed the warnings of the        and conduct a comprehensive
   be met sustainably. Jatropha               Gallagher Review and ensure that       review of the direct and indirect
   cannot currently be considered a                                                  environmental and social impacts
   sustainable biofuel crop because                                                  of that production.
   its supposed benefits are unproven.

•	 Instead,	emissions	from	road	
   transport should be reduced
   through a combination of measures
    proven to be effective. the
   Government-commissioned study
   “Looking over the horizon” has
    demonstrated that emissions
   from transport could be reduced
    by 60 per cent by 2030 through
    a combination of transport policy
    measures that are proven to
    deliver effective greenhouse
    gas reductions.4 For example,
    measures to boost walking and
    cycling could save 7.3 million
   tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.5




5    Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland                                                                      5
    INtRODUCtION

    the search for alternatives to fossil
    fuel has seen a major rush towards           SWaZiLand
     biofuels, contributing to rising food                                                                                                      n
                                                  political Map
     prices and growing concern about
     our ability to grow enough food and
    fuel. Against this backdrop, jatropha
     has been promoted by D1 Oils as a                                           piggs peak
                                                 South africa
    “wonder crop” because of its ability to
     grow on marginal and semi-arid land.                                      Hnohho
         Jatropha originates in South
    America but has been introduced
                                                                 Mbabane                                                          Mozambique
    widely to Asia and Africa, where it is
    traditionally used for hedges and oil                                                                      Siteki
    from the seeds are used for soap.                                             Manzini
    Jatropha, the variety being promoted
    for biofuel, is a bushy shrub that                                                                Lubombo
     produces seeds which contain a non-                             Manzini
     edible vegetable oil that can be
     used for biodiesel.8
         UK-based company D1 Oils was
     among the first to market jatropha’s
                                                                               Hlatikulu
     supposed advantages. It has
     developed partnerships in South                                     Shiselweni
     East Asia and Africa to encourage
    farmers to grow jatropha, and is
    widely seen as a world leader in the
     jatropha trade.
         Jatropha is particularly suited to
                                                            national capital
    tropical conditions and a number of                                                                                 0   50        100 Kilometers
                                                            province capital
     countries are embracing the so-
     called miracle crop. India has said it
     intends to develop 11 million hectares
     of jatropha and China claims to have
    2 million hectares and plans 11 million                                                           aFrica
     more. In Africa, jatropha plantations
     arespreading across tanzania and
    Zambia, and, despite a current
     government suspension of planting
     of jatropha, Swaziland is poised to
    follow suit.
                                                                                                                                          e




                                                                                                                  Zimbabwe
                                                                                                                                       iqu




         One of the key drivers behind this
                                                                                                                                    amb




                                                                                            namibia
     enthusiasm is demand for biofuels
                                                                                                                                 Moz




                                                                                                       Botswana
    from Europe and the United States,
     promoted as a measure to tackle
     climate change. Despite social
     and environmental concerns and
     unproven climate benefits of biofuels,
                                                                                                                                  Swaziland
    the EU has set a target of 10 per
                                                                         South africa
     cent road of transport fuel to come
    from biofuels by 2020. Producers                                                                  South
    worldwide are gearing up to supply                                                                africa
                                                                                                                                                       Mario Stifano Graphics/Friends of the Earth




    this demand. the rising price of
     petroleum and a desire for energy                                                                     Lesotho
     security are also spurring countries to
     look at the potential for domestic use.



6        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    D1 OILS

                                                                                                  D1 OILS IN SWAZILAND
     a d1 oils Jatropha plantation

                                                                                                  D1 Oils Africa Ltd is a subsidiary
                                                                                                  of D1 Oils that started operating in
                                                                                                  Swaziland in 2005. D1 Oils Africa
                                                                                                  Limited signed a Memorandum
                                                                                                  of Understanding with the Swazi
                                                                                                  Government in September 2006 to
                                                                                                  plant 20,000 hectares of jatropha in
                                                                                                  the country.17
                                                                                                      Local NGOs Yonge Nawe (Friends




                                                                                     Yonge Nawe
                                                                                                  of the Earth Swaziland) and Africa
                                                                                                  Co-operative Action trust (ACAt)
                                                                                                  Swaziland have raised questions
                                                                                                  about the environmental impacts
     D1 Oils plc describes itself as a            In February 2009 D1 Oils                        of jatropha, the impact on food
    “biofuels technology company”.9            announced that through its joint                   supply and also about D1 Oils
    It has expanded rapidly, attracting        venture with BP it had planted more                approach to farmers.
    worldwide media coverage and               than 257,000 hectares of jatropha, or
     massive investment for jatropha,          around a quarter of the current
    which the company has branded as           world supply.13
     a “wonder crop”.10                           Most of these plantations are not
         D1 Oils believes that Jatropha will   owned by D1 Oils, but represent the
    “potentially contribute strongly to the    area planted with jatropha by
     EU meeting its biofuel targets”.11        independent farmers. the farmers
     D1 Oils has also expounded the            have signed agreements where D1
     jatropha message in developing            Oils will buy the jatropha, and in some
     countries, saying the crop would          cases provide farmers assistance
     deliver good oil yields on marginal       with seeds and seedlings.14
     and arid land unsuitable for                 D1-BP Fuel Crops Limited, D1
     agriculture, and could also be used       Oils’ joint venture with BP, took over
     as biomass to generate electricity12.     responsibility for all D1 Oil’s existing
         In December 2004 the company          planting agreements15 and now
     had up to 6 million hectares which        owns D1 Oils plc’s plantations, with
     it could access for jatropha biofuel      managed plantations in Zambia,
     production - an area twice the size       Swaziland and Indonesia.
     of Belgium. D1 Oils’ rapid global
     expansion has seen it enter into a
     number of partnership arrangements
     including with companies in Brazil,
     China, India, Indonesia, Saudi
     Arabia, South Africa, Swaziland
     and Zambia.




7        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    EXPERIENCE FROM SWAZILAND

    “Because they are environmentally          D1 Oils and other proponents of             this section investigates the claims
     elastic and bring unproductive land       jatropha are marketing the crop as          made by D1 Oils about jatropha
     into cultivation, alternative biofuel     a sustainable biofuel crop, without         biofuels in light of the experience
    feedstocks such as jatropha have           the widely publicised environmental         of Swaziland.
    the potential to meet demand for           and social impacts of other biofuel
     biofuels without putting at risk food     crops such as palm oil. Jatropha’s
     supplies or important carbon-rich         supposed key benefits are that it
     or biodiverse environments.”              can grow on so-called marginal or
                                               wasteland in water scarce conditions
    D1 Oils, Annual report and accounts 2007   with little or no fertiliser or pesticide
                                               impact. D1 Oils presents jatropha
                                               as a key development opportunity
                                               enabling rural farmers to lift
                                               themselves out of poverty, while
                                               at the same time meeting a
                                               demand from developed countries
                                               for greener fuel which helps to
                                               combat climate change.




                                                Jatropha seeds




                                                                                                                                  Dreamstime




8        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
    GroWS WELL on                                 D1 Oils argues that because            So now I want to start growing
    MarGinaL Land?                            jatropha grows on marginal land it         drought-tolerant food crops as the
                                              does not take land away from food          Minister for Agriculture has urged.
    “Developing countries have millions       production. In Swaziland, however,         But I have heard that the contract
     of hectares of land that is currently    some of the land being used for            I signed with D1 doesn’t allow me
     classified as marginal, waste or         jatropha was until recently used for       to stop growing jatropha for them. I
     degraded. this includes land that        growing food.                              don’t know what to do.”
    was farmed in the past, but has
    fallen out of production and is no        “I have three fields. I used to grow       Small Farmer, Swaziland22
     longer suitable for growing arable        cotton on the one which has
     crops. Much of this land is suitable      irrigation and food crops on the other    the Gallagher Review warns that
    for growing energy crops such             two. then D1 Oils came and told us         biofuel crops which can grow on
     as jatropha.” D1 Oils website18          we could make lots of money from           marginal land, like jatropha, must be
                                               growing jatropha. So I decided to         subject to regulation to ensure that
    In fact, studies challenge the            turn all my fields over to jatropha.       they are not in fact grown on high
    viability of growing jatropha on           But times are hard. Food prices are       quality arable land.23
    waste lands. Research carried             too high. My family are angry with             D1 Oils also promotes the use of
    out by the Overseas Development            me for planting jatropha and have         biomass from jatropha to generate
    Institute (ODI) as part of the UK         told me I must use the fields to grow      electricity. According to Plant
    Government’s Gallagher Review             food crops again so that we won’t go       Research International, this would
    found that the “promotional”               hungry. I want to pull out the jatropha   remove a “huge amount of nutrients”
    claims made about jatropha were            but do not know what my contract          from the soil, reducing the
    contradictory.19 While the ODI found       says.”                                    soils fertility.24
    jatropha could grow on marginal                                                          Solomon Gamedze from
    land, it also found that jatropha         Sam Dube, subsistence farmer,              Swaziland’s Ministry of Agriculture
    would only produce high yields if         Manzini Region21                           told a meeting:
    grown in good soil in areas with
    good irrigation.                          Much of the so-called “waste land”          “As much as the Ministry welcomes
        the question of land use for          being ear-marked for jatropha              the issue of biofuels if they can
    jatropha is crucial. Biofuel crops that   production in fact provides valuable       relieve the country of the ever
    displace food crops put a severe          grazing land and subsistence farm          escalating costs of fossil fuels,
    strain on food supplies, leading to       land for some of the                       we should remember that only 10
    rising prices and food insecurity.        poorest communities.                       percent of the land is arable, and
    the ODI study notes, however, that                                                   we should be seen to be asking
    if jatropha becomes more profitable,      “I planted jatropha on two of my           how much of that land can be
    it will become more attractive            fields. the jatropha isn’t growing well    sacrificed to Jatropha.25”
    for farmers as a crop, potentially         and I didn’t know that I would have
    displacing food supplies.20               to wait three years before I’d start
                                              to be able to harvest the seeds and
                                               make money.


     a d1 oils Jatropha plantation
                                                                                                                                Yonge Nawe




9        Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
 HiGH yiELdS on poor SoiL?                    desertification: former eastern low level cropland

 “Under optimum conditions
  jatropha seeds can yield up to 40%
  oil content.26”

 “the trees…can grow and
  survive with minimum inputs
  in marginal land…”




                                                                                                                             James Hall/IRIN
 D1 Oils website27




 Among the key benefits of jatropha,        large scale jatropha cultivation.           of plants on poor rain-fed soil can
 according to D1 Oils, is the good          Little is known about the different         be expected to produce 0.67 tonnes
 yield on poor soil. But studies have       varieties and their comparative yields,     of seeds (equivalent to 287 litres of
 predicted far lower yields, especially     making it “impossible” to predict           oil per hectare), while on normal or
  on poor quality soil, and scientists      future production on marginal land.29       fertile irrigated soil, a hectare will
 and farmers have questioned whether            the study reported considerable         produce 2.5 tonnes (equivalent to
 high yields can be delivered.              variability in yields according to the      1,070 litres of oil per hectare31).
      In 2007 D1 Oils claimed that once     soil type, water level and level of care    His studies also show that plants
 the jatropha plant reaches maturity,       the plant received but said there was       benefit from inputs, including 5kg of
 jatropha has the potential to yield        no evidence available to support            organic manure for every plant.
 between 170 and 270 per cent more          claims of high oil yields.                      these findings are consistent
 than rapeseed per hectare, and                 Figure 1 summarises the results         with the conclusions of ODI’s study
 between 425 and 675 per cent more          of some different studies on the oil        mentioned above, which suggests
 than soya per hectare. D1 Oils has         yields of jatropha compared with the        that jatropha has limited potential as
 also claimed: “In the longer term we       claims made by D1 Oils. the Indian          a fuel crop.32
 believe yields for jatropha have the       Government’s Planning Commission                Jatropha is unlikely to deliver the
 potential to approach those of palm28”     has promoted jatropha for biofuels,         promised yields if grown only on
 , with palm yielding at least twice that   predicting yields of 1,300 litres /         marginal land, raising fundamental
  of rapeseed and soya.                     hectare. Yet Indian scientist and           questions over the viability of
      But other scientific studies have     jatropha expert Pushpito Ghosh says         jatropha as a farm crop and
 found lower yields than those claimed      a yield of half that amount                 undermining D1 Oils’ claims that
 by D1 Oils.                                is more likely.30                           jatropha can provide a sustainable
      A study by Plant Research                 Professor KS Neelakantan from           source of fuel that does not compete
 International at Wageningen                tamil Nadu Agricultural University          with food.
 University reported that there was         has studied yields under different
 little concrete data available on          conditions and reports that a hectare

                                                                                          Figure 1




10    Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland                                                                                10
                                                                                                                                    Friends of the Earth Swaziland
 WatEr uSE -                                                                             noxiouS and
 BioFuELS GroWn in                                                                       invaSivE
 drouGHt conditionS?                                                                     iS JatropHa SaFE?

 D1 Oils has made much of jatropha’s           Some farmers are frustrated               Jatropha is officially recognised as
 ability to grow in semi-arid areas,       because when they were given                  an “invasive species” in some parts of
 launching a partnership in Saudi          seedlings, D1 Oils told them that             the world, including the United States,
 Arabia to grow jatropha in the desert.    jatropha does not need a lot of water         South Africa, Australia and Puerto
 But evidence suggests that jatropha       to survive. But experience shows that         Rico. the Global Invasive Species
 will not thrive unless irrigated.33       for jatropha to thrive it needs weekly        Programme has recommended that
     While jatropha has traditionally      watering.                                     as such, it should not be used for
 been used to conserve water in the                                                      biofuel production.36
 soil, with leaves providing shade         “My children wish I had not taken the             the plant is classified as a noxious
 and preventing evaporation, no full        jatropha seedlings. D1 Oils had said         weed in Western Australia because
 studies have been carried out on the      the jatropha wouldn’t need water.             of its toxic and invasive nature. the
 overall impact on water levels of          But they need to be watered three            state’s government warns that the
 intensive jatropha cultivation.34         times a week or they wither and               oil produced from jatropha contains
 Swaziland is water scarce.                 die. Now I have to send my children          carcinogenic substances and presents
 the persistent drought in the country     to water these trees. I feel guilty           a significant human and animal
 has been declared a national               because we are struggling to get             health risk.37
 disaster by the government, and           water for domestic use and they have
 there are concerns about using water      to walk long distances to fetch the           “the man told us that a white man in
 to irrigate a crop for fuel when there    water. this has set me                         Mbabane would pay us lots of money
 is not enough water for daily life, let    against my children.”                        to grow this jatropha. But there is
 alone for growing food supplies. D1                                                      no way I will have it on my land. I
 Oils has made much of jatropha’s          Constance Dlamini, 45, small-scale farmer35    used to use it as a hedge around
 ability to grow in semi-arid areas,                                                      my home. then one day my three
 launching a partnership in Saudi                                                         children had to be hospitalised after
 Arabia to grow jatropha in the desert.                                                   eating the fruit. When I mentioned
 But evidence suggests that jatropha                                                     this at the presentation by D1 Oils
 will not thrive unless irrigated.                                                       they denied that the plant was toxic.”

                                                                                         Zanele Dlamini,
                                                                                         subsistence farmer, Hhohho38


11    Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
rESiStant to diSEaSE?                       EnvironMEntaL riSK?                            of mood in Swaziland came amid
                                                                                           growing concern globally about the
“D1 Oils have neglected us, they            “No environmental risk assessment has          impacts of biofuels on rising food
tricked us into planting these trees,        been undertaken over Jatropha, when           prices, but there were also concerns
told us they were miracle trees              it should have been put under a severe        within Swaziland about the impacts of
that wouldn’t need any inputs like           environmental scrutiny before it could        jatropha cultivation.
 expensive fertilisers and pesticides.       be embarked upon. this is against the             South Africa has banned the
 But now we need pesticides and they         spirit of the Plant Control Act of 1981.42”   commercial cultivation of jatropha
 can’t help us. Where are we supposed                                                      because of uncertainty about its
to get money from for these expensive       Solomon Gamedze from Swaziland’s               local environmental impacts. Priscilla
 pesticides? And when they finally buy      Ministry of Agriculture                        Sehoole from the agricultural
 our seeds will they include the money                                                     department said:
I used for the chemicals? I am really       Some of the environmental concerns
 disappointed.”                             about jatropha were highlighted                “too many lessons have been
                                            when, in April 2008, the Government             learned at high cost when plants that
Grower, Swaziland39                         suspended all further planting of               promised to be solutions turned into
                                            jatropha until a strategic environmental        environmental and social disasters for
the Plant Research Institute study          assessment had been carried out. D1            South Africa.44”
dismissed claims that jatropha              Oils’ planned high profile launch - with
is resistant to pests and disease,          the King of Swaziland, Sir Bob Geldof
reporting that evidence from                and Bono reportedly scheduled to
plantations shows problems with             attend - was postponed.43
fungi, viruses and attacks by insects.          So far, around 2,000 farmers are
Jatropha is vulnerable to a number of       believed to have planted around
diseases including leaf spots, collar rot   3,000 hectares with D1 Oils jatropha
and root rot.40                             seedlings in Swaziland. the change
    Bayer CropScience is reportedly
working on the development of
herbicides, insecticides and fungicides
for jatropha, in partnership
with Daimler.41
    Farmers in Swaziland have reported
problems with pests. Jatropha is an
unfamiliar species and has never been
used as a commercial crop, which
means there is no local knowledge of
the pests it attracts or how to control
them. this means that even the Swazi
government department that advises
farmers has no pest list for it and so is
unable to give advice to farmers.
    there are common complaints
about a grasshopper-like insect which
feeds on the plants, causing it to wither
and die. One farmer reportedly asked
D1 Oils for help with pesticides was
told to buy it herself. She says she has
no money to buy pesticides and so as
a result the whole field was wiped out.
                                                                                                                                 Crawford Learmonth/capturinglight.me.uk




                                             Home garden planting project




12     Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
 dEvELopMEnt
 opportunitiES For
 poor coMMunitiES?

 “We believe that rural communities
  in Swaziland stand to benefit
  significantly from the increase
  in rural employment that we are
 facilitating through the planting of
  jatropha as an energy crop. Our
  operations have already created
  over 200 jobs in communities that
  previously depended on subsistence
 farming and we expect planting
 to create thousands of jobs in the
  long term.45”

 D1 Oils ex-CEO Elliott Mannis


 the Swaziland venture was promoted
 as a development opportunity for
 struggling farmers. More than 80 per
 cent of the Swazi population depend




                                                                                                                               chrislang.org
 on subsistence farming and have
 suffered as a result of the severe
 drought in recent years. Crops such        Much of the Swazi population depends on food aid
 as cotton, sugar cane and maize
 have failed and more than two thirds
 of the population now depend on          “As a mainstay of                           As noted above, these claims
 food aid.46                              people’s livelihoods it looks               are contested and yields on land
      D1 Oils offered free jatropha       distinctly marginal.”                       unsuitable for food production are far
 seedlings to farmers and told them                                                   from certain.
 they could expect returns                ODI Review of the indirect effects              As the International Institute
 of between E600-700 (£39 - £45)          of biofuels: Economic benefits              for Environment and Development
 a tonne.47Development charity World      and food insecurity50                       (IIED) and the Food and Agriculture
 Vision signed an agreement with                                                      Organisation (FAO) note in a report
 D1 Oils to encourage jatropha            A number of jatropha experts have          “gains in yields will not be spread
 planting. Other supporters include       concluded that the crop has most            equally. Africa did not benefit from
 Sir Bob Geldof who has declared          potential as field boundary                 the Green Revolution, with crop
 that jatropha has “life-changing”        or planted alongside other crops,          yields across the continent declining
 potential for poverty stricken           with the seeds used locally for soap        slightly during the 1970s and beyond.
 African countries.48                     production, for seedcake and a             Yield increases are often confined to
        Evidence of the rural farmers     fuel oil.51 Its potential as a cash crop    the large-scale farming sector, with
 enriched by jatropha production is,      is unproved.52                              smallscale producers unable to take
 however, hard to find. An analysis           An analysis of the economic             advantage of new technologies and
 of the labour demands for jatropha       benefits of sugar cane, palm oil            high cost inputs”.54
 cultivation in India found that while    and jatropha by the ODI concludes
 a hectare of jatropha would create       that jatropha shows marginal
 some employment, this was sporadic,      economic benefits.53
 with a labour-intense phase during           the potential of jatropha as a
 planting (153 days in the first year),   key development opportunity for
 little labour needed during the          Swazi people also depends on
 second and third years, and intense      whether it lives up to the claims
 labour required for harvesting once      being made for attaining high yields
 the plants reached maturity (27+         on non-crop land without competing
 days in years four and five, 46+ days    with food crops or causing other
 subsequently).49                         environmental damage.




13    Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
            a Fair dEaL                                                                         EnErGy SovErEiGnty
            For FarMErS?                                                                        For SWaZiLand?

           Yonge Nawe and ACAt Swaziland               Muzie Yende from ACAt explained          D1 has said that by planting unused
           have found that some of the farmers         this meant the farmers would be          land with jatropha, Swaziland could
           who were contracted to grow                 unable to rotate their crops in the      be producing its own biodiesel,
           jatropha for D1 Oils had been asked         normal way, reducing their capacity      reducing its dependency on oil from
           to sign contracts in English, which         to grow food.                            South Africa.58
           they could not read or understand.                                                        However, the reality is that
           the contracts were then taken away          “D1 Oils told us growing jatropha will   it’s more likely to be exported as
           from them.                                   make us rich. I am not sure what’s      under current legislation D1 Oils
            “the terms and conditions were not          in the contract as it was written in    cannot distribute their biodiesel in
           explained to them. to make matters           English and they didn’t leave me a      Swaziland. D1 Oils aims to have
           worse, D1 Oils failed to leave them          copy. I just signed because I needed    20,000 hectares of the plant by
           copies so they could seek legal             the money.”                              2010, producing enough jatropha
           guidance on where they stand…                                                        to justify building a refinery for
           Furthermore, we have learnt that the        titus Shongwe, 45, small scale           local use.
           contract ties the farmer for 10 years       farmer, Swaziland.56
           within which they are not permitted to
           destroy or uproot the jatropha.55”               D1 Oils project director in
                                                       Swaziland, Rex Brown, has denied
            Sicelo Simelane, Yongenaew told the        that farmers cannot terminate the
            Swazi Observer                             contract if they wish to and told the
                                                       media that contracts were now being
                                                       interpreted for farmers, but farmers
                                                       still do not have copies of what they
                                                       have signed.57




                                                                                                                                       Friends of the Earth Swaziland




         14      Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland
yonge nawe community dialogue with subsistence
farmers at nkhomonye in the poverty stricken Shiselweni region
 CONCLUSIONS
 the case of D1 Oils in Swaziland              the oil yield from jatropha when                                  While jatropha is not a food crop,
 demonstrates that many of the            it is grown on marginal or waste                                    the use of the plant for biofuels still
 industry’s claims for the potential of   land with no water, fertiliser or                                   raises issues about competition with
 jatropha as a sustainable biofuels       pesticide input is, at best, uncertain.                             land use and food production. the
 crop are, at best, unproven.             the high yields needed to make                                      experience from Swaziland, backed
     No strategic environmental           jatropha commercially viable as a                                   up by various scientific studies,
 impact assessment has been               biofuel crop are far more likely to be                              implies that policy makers in the EU
 carried out on the potential impacts     obtained when it is planted on fertile                              and UK need to treat jatropha with
 of jatropha in Swaziland. Some           irrigated land. this could mean that                                the same degree of rigour as other
 farmers in Swaziland who have            widespread jatropha plantations                                     biofuel crops.
 already planted jatropha report          for biodiesel compete with food
 problems with pests and that the         production for fertile agricultural land.
 plants need to be watered frequently.
 Farmers are already raising
 concerns about yield.




                                                                                                                                                                       tomas De Mul/IRIN
                                               Wilted maize fields. Swaziland is struggling to
                                               feed its people

 Jatropha : wonder crop?
                                          Making life better for people by inspiring solutions to
 the rush towards biofuels is fraught     environmental problems
 with social and environmental            Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
                                          26-28 Underwood Street
 concerns and unproven climate            London N1 7JQ
                                          www.foe.co.uk
 benefits.                                tel: 020 7490 1555
    Jatropha (Jatropha curcas)            Fax: 020 7490 0881

 has been promoted by UK biofuel          Friends of the Earth is:
                                          •	the	UK’s	most	influential	national	environmental					        		
 company D1 Oils as a wonder crop           campaigning organisation
 because of the plant’s ability to grow   •	the	most	extensive	environmental	network	in	the				
                                            world, with around 2 million supporters across
 on marginal and semi-arid land.            five continents, and more than 77 national
                                            organisations worldwide
    this report for media and policy      •	a	unique	network	of	campaigning	local	groups,																		
 makers highlights the concerns             working in more than 220 communities
                                                                                                              Yonge Nawe (siSwati for “You too must conserve”) is
                                            throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland
 over jatropha’s impact, questions        •	dependent	on	individuals	for	over	90	                             a publict interest NGO working to prevent and reduce
                                            per cent of its income.                                           the impacts of inappropriate development on the
 some of the claims being made for                                                                            environment and people. We believe everyone should
                                                                                                              enjoy a good quality of life. We campaign on the
 biofuel from the plant, and makes        Friends of the Earth is the collective name for Friends of
                                                                                                              most important issues impacting socio-economically
                                          the Earth trust, registered charity 281681, company
 recommendations to European and          number 1533942, and Friends of the Earth Limited, com-              disadvantaged communities within Swaziland – those
                                          pany number 1012357.                                                communities typically unable to participate in debates
 UK Government.                                                                                               about development that will dramatically affect their
                                          Printed on paper made from 100 per cent post-consumer               lives. For further information visit
                                          waste using vegetable-based inks and by a printer with              www.yongenawe.com
                                          environmental accreditation ISO 14001.




15                                                                                                                                                                     15
REFERENCES
1    http://www.d1bpfuelcrops.com/.                                                 29 Plant Research International, October 2007, Claims and facts on jatropha
2    http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/reportsandpublications/                                  curcas L, REE Jongshaap et al, Wageningen UR.
     reviewoftheindirecteffectsofbiofuels.cfm.                                      30 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/JatrophaBiodieselIndia.php.
3    http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/content/PW/WEED/DECP/fn2007_jatropha_               31 http://www.tnau.ac.in/tech/swc/jatropha.pdf.
     biodiesel.pdf.                                                                 32 Overseas Development Institute, Report to the Renewable Fuels Agency,
4    Looking over the Horizon, Visioning and Backcasting for UK Transport               June 2008, Review of the indirect effects of biofuels: Economic benefits
     Policy, Department for transport – New Horizons Research                           and food insecurity, http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_
     Programme 2004/05                                                                  Economic_benefits_and_food_insecurity.pdf.
5    Department for transport: Carbon Pathways Analysis, July 2008 and              33 http://www.tnau.ac.in/tech/swc/jatropha.pdf and http://biodiesel.nedfi.com/
     Sustrans submission to Committee on Climate Change: Carbon savings                 media/download_gallery/spland%20presentation.pdf, p. 249.
     from active travel interventions, July 2008                                    34 Plant Research International, October 2007, Claims and facts on jatropha
6    Sustainable Development Commission: UK climate change programme                    curcas L, REE Jongshaap et al, Wageningen UR.
     review submission, May 2005 and International Energy Agency, Saving Oil        35 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe.
     in a Hurry, 2005                                                               36 http://www.gisp.org/publications/newsletter/GISPnewsletter9.pdf.
7    Putting the brakes on climate change: CO2 limit values for cars, CPC           37 http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/content/PW/WEED/DECP/fn2007_jatropha_
     Berlin, 2007                                                                       biodiesel.pdf.
8    Plant Research International, October 2007, Claims and facts on jatropha       38 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe.
     curcas L, REE Jongshaap et al, Wageningen UR.                                  39 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe.
9    http://www.d1plc.com/index.php.                                                40 Plant Research International, October 2007, Claims and facts on jatropha
10 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6278140.stm;                                     curcas L, REE Jongshaap et al, Wageningen UR.
     http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/world/africa/09biofuel.html?ex=13469         41 http://www.engineerlive.com/power-engineer/renewable-energy/20201/
     90400&en=7975f93addeacfea&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss;                          jatropha-could-this-be-the-crop-to-power-the-future-of-biofuels.thtml.
     http://www.biodieselnow.com/forums/p/17727/139872.aspx                         42 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=42441&Section=main&articledate
     (from Dublin Independent);                                                         =thursday,%20January%201,%201970
     http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2155351.ece;                43 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=44819&Section=main&articledate
     http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/biotech/2004026594_                          =thursday,%20January%201,%201970
     biotechcrops21.html                                                            44 http://www.mg.co.za/article/2007-09-25-jatropha-fuel-for-thought
     http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jun/26/climatechange3;              45 http://www.d1plc.com/news.php?article=108.
     http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2214 (A note on jatropha);                      46 http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-03-13-questions-abound-over-swaziland-
     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-467800/Are-cows-killing-planet.html.       food-crisis.
11 http://www.d1bpfuelcrops.com/                                                    47 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=22490&Section=main&articledate
12 See: the biodiesel jatropha project, Executive Insider Briefing – Energy             =thursday,%20January%201,%201970
     sector Madagascar.                                                             48 http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article.php?a_id=112872.
13 D1 Oils trading announcement, 4 February 2009,                                   49 Overseas Development Institute, Report to the Renewable Fuels Agency,
     http://www.d1plc.com/investors.php.                                                June 2008, Review of the indirect effects of biofuels: Economic benefits
14 D1 Oils Annual report and accounts 2007.                                             and food insecurity, p. 52
15 http://www.d1plc.com/aboutHistory.php.                                               http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_Economic_benefits_and_
16 D1 Oils Annual report and accounts 2007.                                             food_insecurity.pdf
17 http://www.d1plc.com/news.php?article=108.                                       50 Overseas Development Institute, Report to the Renewable Fuels Agency,
18 http://www.d1plc.com/aboutSustainable.php.                                           June 2008, Review of the indirect effects of biofuels: Economic benefits
19 http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_Economic_benefits_and_                  and food insecurity, http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_
     food_insecurity.pdf.                                                               Economic_benefits_and_food_insecurity.pdf.
20 http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_Economic_benefits_and_              51 http://www.jatropha.de/.
     food_insecurity.pdf.                                                           52 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/JatrophaBiodieselIndia.php.
21 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe.                                                       53 Overseas Development Institute, Report to the Renewable Fuels Agency,
22 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe                                                            June 2008, Review of the indirect effects of biofuels: Economic benefits
23 Renewable Fuels Agency, July 2008, The Gallagher Review of the indirect              and food insecurity, http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/_db/_documents/ODI_
     effects of fuel production, p. 37.                                                 Economic_benefits_and_food_insecurity.pdf.
24 Plant Research International, October 2007, Claims and facts on jatropha         54 http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/12551IIED.pdf.
     curcas L, REE Jongshaap et al, Wageningen UR                                   55 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=42117&Section=main&articledate
25 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=42441&Section=main&articledate                =thursday,%20January%201,%201970.
     =thursday,%20January%201,%201970                                               56 Interviewed by Yonge Nawe.
26 http://www.d1plc.com/agronomyEnergy.php.                                         57 http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=44819&Section=main&articledate
27 http://www.article13.com/A13_ContentList.asp?strAction=GetPublication&P              =thursday,%20January%201,%201970.
     NID=1178.                                                                      58 HYPERLINK “http://www.observer.org.sz/main.php?id=44819&Section=mai
28 http://www.londonstockexchange.com/LSECWS/IFSPages/                                  n&articledate=thursday,%20January%201,%20.
     MarketNewsPopup.aspx?id=1447506&source=RNS



16       Jatropha: wonder crop? Experience from Swaziland

								
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