1. African Crop Science Conference Proceedings, Vol. 9. pp. 71 - 75Printed in Uganda. All rights reservedISSN 1023-070X/2009 $ 4.00© 2009, African Crop Science Society Jatropha curcas oil production for local development in Mozambique FLEMMING NIELSEN Banana Hill/FACT Foundation, Wageningen, The Netherlands Introduction wells and hand rope pumps. Farmer’s willingness to join the program depends on the attractiveness of the wholeThe pilot project “Jatropha for local development” was package and on expected benefits. This is particularlyconceptualised in 2005 and started to be implemented in important in the context of Jatropha which will only reachMozambique in 2007. Its goal was to test the feasibility of reasonable yields after some years.enhancing local development by using locally produced Organisational issues are not covered in this paperJatropha oil to run local diesel engines converted to run but do of course play a major role in the achievements ofon pure Jatropha oil, as well as for the local production of the project. Important in this respect have been ADPPsoap and and lamp oil (ADPP & FACT Foundation 2006). (with the Farmers’ Clubs), GAIA Movement, and FACTThe project is unique and has recently received much Foundation.interest from various actors interested in up-scaling the The project is financed by a number of Dutch donors;approach. Stichting het Groene Woudt, Solidaridad, Stichting Doen In this paper we provide an overview of the experience and HIVOS.that has been gained so far, of uncertainties that remainand factors that are considered to be crucial to success. Project area. The project area is located in the costalThis last issue is important when considering up-scaling zone of Cabo Delgado province in an area with a populationbecause many important factors are specific to the project density below 18 people/km2. The dominant soils arearea. Cambisol and Acrisol with some Chernozem (INIA-DTA, The development and testing of the concept of using 2002, FAO classification). Most of the project area is withinlocally produced Jatropha oil for local development has agro-climatic zone R8 (INIA, 2000) with annual rainfallnaturally evolved through a number of overlapping around 800mm (INIA-DIA, 1999). The bedrock is close tophases. At first technical issues had to be solved in the the surface and water-logging is common in low-lyingarea of agronomy and mechanics. However, a system that areas during the rainy season.works technically also needs to fit in the social context, Shifting cultivation with permanent dry seasone.g. it must be compatible with the local farming systems settlements is the dominant land-use practise. During theand be socially acceptable. Next, it must not only be cropping season farmers move to huts in their fields toeconomically viable but attractive compared to avoid long walking distances and to protect the cropsalternatives. For the concept to be considered for up- against wildlife. It is a subsistence economy that relies onscaling it must in addition be environmentally acceptable. food self-sufficiency. No external inputs are used. Cash At the current stage the project has showed that the crops have lower priority than food crops and are producedsystem works at a technical level, it fits well with the local in small amounts to pay for soap, salt, clothes etc.. Therefarming systems, it is socially acceptable and does not are virtually no off-farm employment opportunities in theshow signs of negative social bias. It appears to be area. Sesame is currently the most important cash crop.economically attractive in the current project setting and The major crop and staple food is cassava followed byit appears that even with the current low prices for fossil maize, rice and millet. Only 22.6% of the households reportfuels it will be economically attractive without project that they produce enough food. The rest are undersupport. Initial research on environmental impact indicates nourished and 2% report having lost a family member fromthat the green house gas balance will depend on the future malnutrition during the last year (ADDP, 2009).economic development in the area. Cultivation is strictly by hand and available labour is The project has a research component significantly therefore the limiting factor that restricts cultivation. Thelarger than what is common in development projects. It labour peak is caused by weeding which according tohas therefore been possible to undertake collaboration farmers constitute 35% of the total labour hours duringwith a number of institutions including IIAM (Instituto the rainy season. Chasing wild animals takes 30% of thede Investigação Agrária de Moçambique), UEM labour hours.(Universidade Eduardo Mondlane), University of Sevenity six percent of the population are MuslimsCopenhagen and Eindhoven University of Technology. and 72% belong to the Macua tribe. Depending on the “Jatropha for local development” is one component of season between 16% and 42% of the population havean integrated development program. Other components access to water from protected wells (ADDP, 2009).focus on horticulture, conservation farming, improved
2. 72 FLEMMING NIELSENFigure 1. Only by being viable and acceptable technically, socially , economically and environmentally is Jatropha oil production for local developmentinteresting for up-scaling.Technical viability: Agronomic issues. When the project Delgado province where Jatropha curcas appeared tostarted, there was little and often conflicting information have few pest problems.about best agronomic practices. Formal research was The initial experience made it clear that pestplanned from the beginning but the project could not wait infestations are an important issue despite the widely-for the result of the trials, so an action research approach held opinion at the time that Jatropha had no pest problems.was used in parallel with formal research. Emerging Pesticides containing Chlorpyrifos or Cyphenothrin wereproblems would guide the research and results from used successfully in trial plots but pesticides were ruledresearch would guide the implementation as these became out as an option for the small-scale farmers targeted byavailable. Observation plots were established at different the project.locations and the early Jatropha plantings organised by Initial observations showed that flea beetles were theCaritas at Msika in Manica province were monitored major pest in Jatropha in Central and Northern Mozambiqueregularly. (no observations were made in the South of the country). It was found that in Manica Province Jatropha curcas At least two species could be distinguished visually. Ingenerally performed well for the first 12 months or more Manica province, a yellow flea beetle (Aphthona dilutipesbefore severe flea beetle (Aphthona spp.) attacks Jacoby) was common and appeared to cause much moredevastated them. In some cases, plots with over 1000 plants damage than the red-brown flea beetle (Aphthona sp. n.suffered 100% mortality rates. Other factors may have dilutipes) found elsewhere (Nielsen, 2007; Gagnaux, 2009).played a role too, including water-logging in the relatively Communication with researchers in Kenya, Tanzania andheavy soils common to the province. The rainfall in central Zimbabwe confirmed that the red-brown flea beetle isManica is over 1200 mm/year whereas the project area in found there too. Until recently the author was not awareCabo Delgado receives about 800 mm/year. This experience of the yellow flea beetle appearing outside Manicainfluenced the decision to focus the project in Cabo Province but recently it has been reported in Malawi and Zambia too.
3. Jatropha curcas oil production 73 Collaborative research on pest in Jatropha was initiated Systematic measurement of farmers’ Jatropha hedges andwith Eduardo Mondlane University. The study found that plots is done simultaneously.Jatropha planted towards the end of the rainy season had Pruning is recommended to encourage branching andmore pest problems than Jatropha planted at the beginning thus higher yield. No formal trials on pruning have beenof the rainy season (Gagnaux, 2009). established. Farmers’ usually do not like to prune, finding Initially batches of seeds sourced mainly from it is wasteful to cut into healthy plants. The result is lowerZimbabwe and Malawi showed low germination rates and yields than necessary and more weeding because of aa trial on seed treatment was therefore made in relatively open canopy. In some cases pest damage to thecollaboration with IIAM (Jamice, 2007). The trial compared terminal buds result in branching and yield is thereforeprovenances from Guatemala, Bilibiza and Gorongos and maintained. However, the harvesting is obstructed by thetheir reaction to soaking in water for 24 hours, 48 hours tall plants.and removal of epidermis. It was concluded that none of Overall, the agronomic obstacles have been dealt withthe treatments increased germination rates compared to sufficiently to reach a working system. However,the control. Seed sourced after the trial have shown significant improvement and optimisations can be madeconsistently had germination rates above 90% and the with simple means like seed selection, closer spacing andproblem is therefore ascribed to the seeds used initially. appropriate pruning. Jatropha has been promoted as an ideal crop forexhausted soils. However, demonstration plots Technical viability: Engineering issues. Small handestablished on exhausted soils show that although operated presses have many advantages; they are simpleJatropha survives, it yields almost nothing under such to maintain, easy to operate, are affordable for manyconditions. communities, can ensure that the soil fertility is maintained Planting from cuttings were tried successfully but by returning the press cake, and they create jobs locally.because they do not develop a tap root the project However, testing of a Bielenberg and a Piteba hand pressrecommend to farmers farmers to only use seeds. Still many showed that clogging of the presses is too big a problemfarmers like cuttings because of the fast growth, easy to make it viable. The production of less than one litre ofplanting and familiarity with using them for propagation. oil per hour was found too low by people from the localDirect seeding was at first ruled out due to the bad community. Furthermore, there is a danger of fatalexperience reported in the literature and through personal poisoning if the press is used for producing cooking oilcommunication. However, informal testing has given good without thorough cleaning.results at most localities and is therefore considered a Problems with impurities in the oil from contaminatedviable alternative to the labour-intensive nurseries that equipment and too high phosphorous content fromare otherwise being used for producing seedlings. pressing unripe (green) fruits are more likely to occur under Seeds have been sourced from Tanzania, Malawi, village conditions compared to an industrial press with anGuatemala, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and collected at different experienced operator. No international standard exist forlocalities in Mozambique. The main seed source for the Jatropha oil quality for combustion engines and the projectproject in Cabo Delgado is a local naturalised stand of therefore relies on the DIN V 51605 norm for rapeseed oilJatropha with a good seed yield and healthy appearance. (FACT, 2009). Quality control is only feasible with aThis is a pragmatic choice that makes sense given the lack centralised oil production facility. These factorsof information about the performance of other contributed to the decision of collecting the Jatropha seedsprovenances. Currently, provenances from Guatemala from the communities at a central location where they are(Octagon Ltd.), Tanzania (Diligent Ltd.) and Montepuez pressed with motorised screw presses (Sayari and(Mozambique) being compared in trials in Cabo Delgado DoubleElephant types) by a skilled operator.(RCBD, 4 replications)(Nielsen, 2008). If the foreign A central oil pressing facility increases the transportprovenances prove superior, they will eventually be costs significantly and makes it difficult to return the presspromoted as seed sources. Another trial in collaboration cake to the farmers.with IIAM at Mandonge Research Forest in Manica A survey of existing diesels in the area was undertakenprovince was terminated after two years as the plants had to determine the main uses of diesels and to select commongrown less than their equivalent grow in two months in types for modification to enable them to run on pureCabo Delgado. Jatropha oil. Chinese Feidong engines similar to English Initially, farmers were recommended to plant plots of Lister engines were selected for modification. The areJatropha but when it became apparent that they preferred commonly used for maize grinders.hedges the focus of the research activities changed to Commercial kits for converting diesel engines to runhedges too. on pure plant exist in developed countries but are not Farmers use a planting distance of 0.8 m (6 random suitable for the project area due to high complexity andsamples of 10 plants) which is much more than what is price. The project therefore started a research project withreported as optimal in the literature. Trials with closer the aim of developing low-cost conversion kits from locallyspacing have been established and are expected to yield available materials. This has resulted in a first prototypethe first data in 2010. The trials include plants established that successfully was tested in the Netherlands for overfrom cuttings, direct seeding and seedlings. All trials are 500 hours on rape seed oil. A second prototype is currentlybeing established in demonstration plots where farmers being tested in Mozambique.themselves can compare and make their own conclusions.
4. 74 FLEMMING NIELSEN There is no experience with long-term use of Jatropha If the farm-gate price is 2.5 MZN/kg, this translates tooil in diesel engines. To be attractive the modified engines 20 to 60 MZN/day. This provides a favourable rate whenshould perform similar to conventional engines. The compared to the 30 to 35 MZN/day that is the going rateproject is therefore monitoring converted engines together for hired labour.with the quality of the oil. Tear and wear will be measured Instead of selling the seeds farmers can produce oilby disassembling a modified engine at the end of the test. on their own and use it to substitute diesel for localFirm conclusion about the technical feasibility of running machinery like maize mills and water pumps. Hand-diesel engines on pure Jatropha oil cannot be made yet. pressing Jatropha seeds yields slightly less than 1 l/h and due to the low efficiency of hand-presses, 5.5 kg of seedsSocial issues. Acceptability of Jatropha has not been an are required to extract 1 liter of oil. With harvesting yieldingissue because it was known to farmers in the area as a 1-3 kg decorticated seeds per hour and a local diesel pricemedicinal plant and was already used by some farmers for of 22 to 40 MZN/l the value of an 8-hour working day is 19fencing homesteads and fields. Some farmers find that to 47 MZN, which is comparable to alternative incomeJatropha hedges are better at keeping wild animals out of options. Notice that depreciation of equipment is notthe fields than other plants. included in the calculation. Jatropha planting has proved popular with farmers and The more isolated a community is the higher the dieselthe number of farmers clubs participating and the area price and hence the comparative advantage of producingthey have planted exceeds expectations. At present an Jatropha oil for local use. Alternative cash crops alsoestimated 250000 plants are growing (Afonso & de Jongh, fetches lower prices in isolated areas due to higher2009). A study in collaboration with the University of transport costs. Since oil extraction is just starting theCopenhagen found no gender bias or cultural obstacles economics of oil production, including transport for seedto the adoption of the Jatropha system (Vang, 2009). The collection, is only estimated. Experience from Tanzania isdata are however based on few interview and more that transport cost is a major determinant of the economiccomprehensive surveys are required to verify this. viability (van Eijck, 2009). Theft of plants and seeds is a problem in several areas The indication is that Jatropha production is bothand farmers therefore prefer to plant Jatropha close the economically viable and attractive compared to alternativehomestead where they can keep an eye on them. income sources in the area. Notice that it is assumed that Since labour is the major limiting factor in the farming Jatropha oil is meant for local consumption and thereforesystems it would be desirable to have Jatropha’s labour remains tax free.requirements peak at other times than food crops. At some The impact of using land for bio-fuels instead of foodlocalities in the project area Jatropha yields peak twice has gained much attention recently. Within the projectannually, namely in January to March and to a lesser extent area, many farmers already plant Jatropha in smallin October. At other localities the second peak is absent. quantities. This is similar for other cash crops. Will theyThe first peak coincide with the peak demand for weeding be tempted to grow Jatropha instead of food crops? Toof food crops. Fortunately, Jatropha does not shatter probe deeper into this issue two focus groups were askedmuch, so the ripe seeds can be left on the plants for several about their response to different price scenarios for bothweeks. This makes Jatropha more compatible with food sesame which is currently the main cash crop and Jatropha.production than sesame which is the main cash crop in The response was that time and effort is only devoted tothe area (Nielsen, 2009). Jatropha and other cash crops when their own food consumption is secured no matter what price they fetch.Economic issues. The project is buying the Jatropha In practice the implication is that for most families cashseeds at 5 MZN/kg until the end of the project. With the crops are a minor part of their farming system, and that thecurrent price on fossil fuel, this is almost twice the price price elasticity of supply is very low.that will make Jatropha oil competitive with fossil fuelbased on estimated costs of seed collection and oil Environmental impact. The issue of expanding bio-fuelextraction. Farmers have in group discussions told that production leading to expansion of the area underJatropha is attractive to them even at 2 MZN/kg. Farmers agriculture is currently high on the international agenda.who are not participating in the project are currently paid This is unlikely to be an issue within the project area but2.5 MZN/kg. to the extent that Jatropha substitutes the production of With mechanical screw-presses, 4.5 kg seeds are edible cash crops like sesame indirect land-use changerequired to produce one liter of oil so a farm-gate price of can occur elsewhere.2.5 MZN/kg, allocates 11.25 MZN/l to raw materials; this As discussed above, labour ultimately limits the areais half or less than half of the sales price of diesel in the that can be cultivated and only to the extent that Jatrophaarea which is 22 to 40 MZN/l depending on how isolated requires less labour or can rely on off-season labour isthe community is. expansion possible. Because Jatropha harvesting can be After two or three years, the shade from Jatropha will done when the labour demand for other crops is relativelysuppress weeds and most labour will be required for low, a family can cultivate a slightly larger area whenharvesting. In field tests it was found that farmers can Jatropha is part of the farming system.harvest 1-3 kg/h including decortication, or more than 5 However, Jatropha cultivation is likely to reduce thekg/h excluding decortication (Nielsen, 2009). cultivation of sesame slightly and whereas Jatropha
5. Jatropha curcas oil production 75plantings are productive on the same plot for probably (v) The impact on the CO2 balance depends largely onmore than 40 years, sesame is cultivated on the same plot the development path the communities will follow infor only a few years after which new land is cleared. These the future. If the current farming practices of shiftingtrends together with the fact that cash crops cover a minor agriculture continues the introduction of Jatropha ispart of the cultivated area makes it unlikely that not likely to change the CO2 balance of the farmingintroduction of Jatropha will have a significant effect on operations. It will however have a positive overallthe area under cultivation. In collaboration with the impact on the CO2 balance of the communities byUniversity of Copenhagen the CO2 balance of the project reducing the use of fossil fuel; andhas been assessed. The research will be published soon (vi) Some of the factors that have been important for theand only a few findings are presented here. success of the project so far are likely to be different The study found that the CO2 balance of Jatropha at other locations. Up-scaling should therefore becultivation is positive as long as maize fields or fallows based on careful analysis of the local situation.are replaced by Jatropha. However, if primary forest isremoved to make space for Jatropha the carbon debt will Referencesrequire 1900 years of Jatropha cultivation to be paid back(Vang, 2009). ADPP & FACT Foundation, 2006. Project proposal: As argued above introduction of Jatropha in a farming Jatropha for local development in Mozambique.system where the major bottleneck is labour leads to ADPP, 2009. ADPP Farmer’s Club Household 2008 Surveysubstitution of crops and not expansion of the cropped Analysis Report. ADPP, Mozambique.area so the CO2 balance of the farming system is not likely Afonso, B. & de Jongh, J. 2009. ADPP-FACT Narrativeto be affected. The substitution of fossil fuel with Jatropha Progress report No. 5 1st of July 2009, Jatropha oil foroil will improve the CO2 balance for the communities. local development in Mozambique. However, if for instance the intervention increases FACT, 2009. The Jatropha Handbook 2nd edition, FACTwealth so herbicides becomes affordable then a significant Foundation.expansion of the cultivated area could result in a negative Gagnaus, Pomme Christiane, 2009. Entomofauna associadaeffect on the CO2 balance. The implication is that the à cultura da Jatrofa (Jatropha curcas L.) emassessment of the environmental impact, including CO2 Moçambique, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane,balance depends largely on the development scenario Faculdade de Agronomia e Engenharia Florestalbeing used in the analysis and that it ranges from positive INIA-DIA (Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrícola,to very negative. Direcção de Investigação Agrícola) 1999. Mapa Hidrometrológico de Moçambique. Conclusion INIA, 2000. Zonas Agro-ecológicas de Moçambique. Instituto de InvestigaçãoAgronómica de Moçambique.Based on the knowledge gained so far from this pilot- INIA DTA, 2002. - Agro ecological Zones of Mozambique.project, it is likely that Jatropha can contribute positively Jamice, Rogerio, 2007. Testes de Germinação de sementesto local development: de Jatropha, in Magazine do Investigador, 5.ª Edição, Junho de 2007.(i) Jatropha oil production for local use is probably Nielsen, Flemming, 2007. Poster presentation on Flea technically viable. Jatropha seeds are being produced Beetle damange on Jatropha. Expert seminar on in significant quantities without requiring external Jatropha curcas L. Agronomy and genetics. 26-28 inputs or changes to the local farming systems; March 2007, Wageningen, the Netherlands.(ii) Oil pressing is starting, and test runs of diesel Nielsen, Flemming, 2008. Research protocols for Jatropha engines converted to run on pure Jatropha oil are variety trials, (RCBD); Hedgerow improvement trials under way but long term testing is required before and on-farm observations. firm conclusions can be made about durability and Nielsen, Flemming, 2009. Trip Report Mozambique, April reliability; 2009, Project: Jatropha for local development.(iii) It is socially acceptable and compatible with the local van Eijck, J. 2009. Case Study: The Smallholder Model of farming system; Biofuel Production in Tanzania. Commisioned by GTZ(iv) It is probably economically profitable and compares and ProBEC. favourably to alternative income sources; Vang, Laura, 2009. Climate Change Mitigation: Dyrkning af Jatropha blandt småbønder i Mozambique. Msc Thesis, Inst. of Geography, University of Copenhagen