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Cultivation of Jatropha begins
     
Monday, May 9, 2005 - Deccan Herald

The state's first contract cultivation of Jatropha, whose seeds are used to extract bio-diesel for blending with fossil fuel for minimising emission levels, was launched here on sunday.

Mr Mark L M Quinn, founder and managing director, D1 oils, UK at the inauguration of contract cultivation of Jatropha, in Mysore on Sunday. Dr G Arumugam, Group Science Director, D1 Oils, UK and Labland Biotechs MD Dr Sudheer A Shetty are seen

Mr Mark L M Quinn, founder and managing director, D1 Oils, UK launched the contract cultivation by symbolically handling over a Jatropha plant to farmer A S Naik, at a function organised by Labland Biotechs, which has diversified its operations into the arena of bio-diesel, here. Incidentally, D1 Oils and Labland have entered into a partnership for  producing bio-diesel.

The company has envisaged to involve educational institutions at the taluk level for the successful operations of the contract cultivation.

Labland Biotechs MD Dr Sudheer A Shetty said the company-recognised institution 'Jatropha Information Dissemination Centre (JIDC)' will depute personnel to Labland to get training in cultivation and maintenance of Jatropha. The trained personnel of the institution will, in turn, prepare a team of enthusiastic students to impart training to farmers at various phases in the successful cultivation and maintenance of Jatropha at field levels.

Sahyadri Science College, Shimoga has come forward to work as 'JIDC' in Shimoga taluk. Likewise, the company aims to start JIDCs in othe taluks of the State, he said.

He said the contract period with farmers for Jatropha cultivation will be for 15 years. "we have offered Rs 4,500 per metric tonnes of Jatropha seeds to farmers. On an average, six tonnes of seeds can be produced in one hectare," he says.

Mr Mark L M Quinn says Jatropha yield depends on how well the plants are maintained. Jatropha is not necessarily be cultivated as a prime crop. It can be cultivated as a secondary crop along with vanilla, pepper, ginger etc. If this is followed the potencial value per hectare becomes high.

According to Dr Shetty, commercial cultivation of Jatropha should be done under irrigation to make the plantation viable and profitable. An acre of land can hold 1,200 plants. The palnts begin to yield from the second year with an average of about one tonne/acre in the second year. Every year an increase in the yield is expected. The yield stabilizes in the 7/8th year. Jatropha can be grown in any kind of soils with good drainage. Dr G Arumugam, Group Science Director, D1 Oils, UK, Dr Geeta Singh, executive director, Labland Biotechs, Dr N G K Karanth, director, R and D, Labland Biotechs nad Sapna Shetty, director, Labland Biotechs were present.

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