Jatropha curcas L. is a well-established plant in Asia. It produces oil-rich seeds, is known to thrive on eroded lands, requires moderate amounts of water, nutrients and capital inputs. Jatropha offers the dual benefit to cultivate wastelands and to produce vegetable oil suitable for conversion to biofuel and other products. Key characteristics of the Jatropha tree include:
1. Jatropha trees are slightly toxic, offering a natural resistance to many pests and insects.
2. Jatropha seeds have a high seed oil content of about 35% oil per seed by weight.
3. Jatropha grows very quickly, yielding its first fruits with 9 months of first planting the Jatropha seedling.
4. Jatropha plants yield strong harvests for 35 years to 50 years, creating multiple sustained benefits.
5. Jatropha is drought tolerant, requiring only 300 mm of rainfall to grow and sustain itself, providing a wide Jatropha belt in which the plant can successfully grow and develop fruits.
6. Jatropha is a resilient tree, able to grow in different types of ground conditions including wastelands, sandy soils, nutrient-deficient soils or rocky soils.