About the Crop

Jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.) is a perennial plant belonging to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Its seeds contain around 30-40% oil and 15-20% protein. Jatropha curcas is probably native to Central America, but nowadays occurs in the Tropics and Subtropics worldwide. Traditionally, Jatropha oil has been used for illuminating streets and homes, as a feedstock for the production of soap and for medicinal purposes. Currently, most prominent products are biofuels, soap, snacks, and animal feed. Technical developments will soon become available that increase the diversity of jatropha products.


The plant, which is also known as physic nut, grows in a large range of climates and soils. Jatropha is an eligible candidate to:

  •    Produce sustainable fuels in marginal regions
  •    Serve as an alernative protein source in food or feed
  •    Recultivate degraded soils
  •    Increase rural income and create employment


Agronomic advantages of Jatropha over common annual crops:

  •    Needs to be established only once in the production cycle
  •    Is drought tolerant
  •    Withstands high temperatures
  •    Can survive on wasteland and improve the quality of soils
  •    Has high water and nutrient use effiency
  •    Needs less use of herbicides
  •    Provides many environmental benefits such as erosion control or biodiversity