Estevao Carlos, a pork seller in Morrumbala District, in Zambezia, the most populated province of Mozambique (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).
Two useful reality checks have appeared this week for those of us in the agricultural research for development business.
(1) The first concerns the hardy jatropha tree, widely heralded as a miracle biofuel source.
Miyuki Iiyama, fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre, and James Onchieku, principal research officer at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, write in SciDev.Net this week (27 October 2010) that ‘while it is possible that jatropha could eventually evolve into a higher yielding oil crop that is productive on marginal lands, and markets could be established for its oil and other useful by-products, it is far too soon to make such promises.
‘The reality is that jatropha is still essentially a semi-wild plant and as such its seed yields, oil quality and oil content are all highly variable…
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