Published on International Journal of Forestry & Plantation
Publication Date: December, 2019
Samuel Olusola Oyewole, Bose Ishola & Adekemi Lizzie Oyewole
Federal College of Forestry, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan
Research Coordinating Unit, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan
Jatropha curcas has significant and advantageous properties over other biomass feed stock. The plant is considered as the best source of biofuel production. However, despite the potential of jatropha in the bio-fuel industry and economic development, gap still exists in terms of farmer’s awareness and knowledge of profitability, economics of its production and pro-poor employment opportunities accrue from the Jatropha fruits bio-diesel oil and its allied market. This paper examined the socioeconomic issues associated with the current ongoing campaign for large scale adoption of monoculture practice in jatropha production to meet the anticipated biofuel demand. It was discovered that promotion of large scale production, if not properly plan may impact negatively on people and livelihood development. Effort targeting at promoting large scale production without proper communication could exacerbate existing land problems with crop production thereby create challenges to food supplies for the poor due to a shift from food crop to fuel crop. The paper also found the problems associated with jatropha production to include those related to climatic condition such as poor yield and water scarcity. Those fall under economic category are insufficient income and high cost of labour. The institutional problems are lack of support and poor policy implementation. The paper therefore recommends that research efforts should be intensified to determine the impact of large scale production of Jatropha on household livelihood and appropriate Jatropha promotion policies should be established
Keywords: Socioeconmic issues, Jatropha, production, Biofuel, Demand, Large Scale.
Jatropha curcas is a plant with many functions and multiple uses. The crop has great potential for bioenergy development in many countries (Ogundari et al., 2017). In recent times, the plant is being promoted due to its potential as renewable energy source, for example great attention has been committed to Jatropha production as a biofuel crop in Nigeria. The attention received was due to the fact that it is eco friendy and it has potential for biodiesel production. The products from Jatroha curcas when comparing with petrol-diesel, is non-toxic, renewable and biodegradable (Pandey et al., 2012). The oil from Jatropha curcas plants is considered as the best source of biofuel (diesel fuel) production among the various plant based fuel resources in the world (Belewu et al., 2010). Also, all the parts of this plant are used for one purpose or the other. The leaves, latex, fruits are used in traditional medicine to address some health challenges such as malaria, wound, constipation etc. The oil extract from the seed is used for soap and biodiesel. The seed cake after oil extraction is used for organic fertilizer and combustible (Roy, 2011).
It has numerous common names depending on the country where it is found, but is mostly referred to as physic nut or purging nut (Openshaw, 2000). In Nigeria, it is variably called ‘Binida zugu’ (Hausa), ‘Lapalapa’ Botuje’, (Yoruba), ‘Odoala’ (Ibo), ‘ujavade’ (Edo). It is a member of the Euphobiaceae family which grows in most of the tropics. The oil from the kernels can be transformed into biodiesel fuel through esterification (Allok et al., 2006). The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. It burns with clean and smoke-free flame and has been tested successfully as fuel for simple diesel engines.
Jatropha is a drought tolerant plant and could survive on marginal lands with as little rainfall as 250 mm per year (Foid et al., 1996). The plant shows articulated growth, straight trunk, thick branchlets with a soft wood, flowering in the wet season and with possible oil yield of about 1500 kg/ha (Divakara et al., 2010). It has great potential for both bio-energy supply and socio-economic development in developing countries (Axelsson et al., 2010). It has been estimated that the seeds contain about 32%–40% oil (Achten et al., 2008), the primary requirement for the production of products such as candles, soaps and biofuel. Nhantumbo (2008) noted that Jatropha production could improve the economic status and empower small scale farmers by supplying them with seeds that can be used for production of oil/biofuels and soap. Furthermore, Jatropha plant has been used in land reclamation and restoration of degraded ecosystems as well as erosion control (Garg et al., 2011). It is a good source of green manure (Behera et al., 2009). Jatropha growing has also been recognized as a favorable livelihood broadening strategy for rural communities, alleviating energy demands and generating income (Achten et al., 2011). When established at the large-scale level, the plant requires huge labor input for management, thereby having the potential for improving the rural economy by creating employment (Kochhar et al., 2008).
Despite the significant roles of Jatropha and its advantageous properties in comparison to other biomass feedstock, earlier documentation on Jatropha activities in Nigeria gap still exists in terms of farmer’s knowledge of profitability, economics of its production and pro-poor employment opportunities accrue from the Jatropha fruits bio-diesel oil and its allied market. Farmers are limited and less aware of the structure, conduct, cost and returns in the cultivation of Jatropha. Furthermore, the socio-economic issues related to its production, processing and marketing are important to consider, this is the main focus of this paper to create a new reference that can facilitate policy formulation and implementation to ensure sustainability and repositioning Jatropha as alternative raw material for biofuel production and economic diversification.
2. Socio-economic importance of Jatropha production in Nigeria
It is suffice to say that investments in the bio-fuel industry in Nigeria is a long overdue considering the drive towards diversifying the nation’s economic base from the limited petroleum oil dependent to the non-oil sectors. Efforts at diversifying and commercializing veritable ventures of alternative energies sources like the Jatropha oil need be given the utmost priorities. It is high time that developing countries such as Nigeria and other countries in Africa start integrating bio-fuels into their economy before this opportunity to industrialize passes. It is estimated that Nigeria’s oil reserves can only last the nation for only the next 30-36 years, both in terms of her economic development and poverty alleviation.
Jatropha production is an agri-venture capable of contributing to socio-economic development. This is because it is a diesel bearing plant and can withstand high degree of ardity and can be grown in all parts of the country especially around the forest zones. Jatropha has potential of delivering an estimated 1,500 gallons of diesel per acre per annum. The seeds contain about 40 percent oil, which can be processed to produce high-quality biodiesel fuel that can be used in standard diesel engines or further processed into aviation fuel. Asides provision of income to the farmers from seedling production to sales of seeds and involvement in the value chain and global market, jatopha can be processed into many products that can enhance economic growth. Some of these products include biodiesel, glycerine, soap, grain milling, fertilizers, briquette, biogas etc.
The most popular and recently discovered use of Jatropha is as a biodiesel feedstock. Its oil content of about 25 to 35 percent makes it favorable for oil production (Mogaka et al., 2010). The projected energy consumption indicates that Jatropha will continue to be a relevant bioenergy plant. According to (IEA, 2007), the total world consumption of energy will increase by 50 in 2030 and it is expected that the largest increase in demand would occur in developing countries where the proportion of global energy consumption is expected to increase from 46 to 58 percent by the year 2030. The inverse relationship exists between energy demand and supply of major non renewable sources due to non capacity to replenish them by nature.
There is need to explore alternative bioenergy sources to address energy challenges and negative impacts on the environment. Some socio-economic problems such as over-extraction of natural resources for energy supply which is the driver of degradation and loss of biodiversity could be addressed through cultivation of Jatropha. Additionally use of insufficient energy sources such as firewood produce life threatening and environment polluting gases such as carbon monoxide, benzene and nitrogen oxide on one hand while negative impacts on the environment, price volatility and unreliable supply of fossil fuels make them unfavorable choice for energy (Mogaka, 2010).
Investment in jatropha could bring good economic returns. It has been stated that, if only 10% of the available agricultural land (60,000,000 ha) in the some selected states of Nigeria could be utilized, additional revenue of $3 billion, which is more than the annual allocation to these states, could be generated (Galadima et al., 2011). According to the National President, biofuel farmers association, Mr Kayode Adebisi, he said that Nigeria could get up to N10 billion annually from the export of Jatropha oil. He further reiterated that the country could also earn about N5 billion annually from domestic utilization of the Jatropha bio-crude oil. Ibraheem (2012) emphasized that ‘investments in Jatropha curcas plant for biodiesel production will amongst other things yield opportunities including reduction in fuel importation, total cancellation of petroleum subsidy, self sufficient in biodiesel for transportation and industrial uses, wealth creation, employment opportunity, climatic balancing as well as domestic use for cooking and medicinal applications. Jatropha curcas plant whose nuts have been found to have a good capacity for oil production have been used to fuel lanterns, power generation and for the production of biodiesel.
Socio-economic role of Jatropha extends to the Reclamation of degraded land. The potentials of Jatropha for reclamation of marginal or eroded soil are backed up by scientific literature (Spaan et al. 2004). As the plant is said to be drought tolerant, rural and remote areas in Ethiopia for example could benefit from it to improve their access to sustainable energy as well as for reclamation of marginal or degraded soils. According to Behera et al. (2010) Jatropha can be used for fencing purposes and for soil erosion control. Reubens et al. (2011) further say that Jatropha is claimed to be a potential measure against soil erosion by water or by wind. They point out that the erosion control is rather linked to how the plant is planted than to the plant’s deep root characteristics. Jatropha’s potential to combat soil erosion more likely origins of its planting along slope contours and the dense spacing chosen between each plant, the fast growing of the plant and its fine root structures in the topsoil. But still, the authors think that the three dimensional root symmetry may play an important role “not only for superficial water erosion but also for slope stabilization and control of incisive erosion processes such as rill and gully erosion” (Reubens et al. 2011). So the differences in planting Jatropha by cuttings or by seeds may be insignificant. Further investigation is needed for final statements.
3. Investment potential of Jatropha production in Nigeria
Considering the relevance of Jatropha production in biodiesel and other uses, it is important to intensify effort on sustainable production for economic development. It has been estimated that to meet the projected national demand for feedstock for fuel blending, Jatropha should be cultivated on about 100,000-200,000 hectares of land across the country (Adam, 2018). However, despite the fact that Jatropha oil has been recognized as the main pilot raw material for the biodiesel industry, the plant has not been on large scale production by either the Nigeria food or commercial farmers. With the current biofuels plan some states in the North have been selected for large scale production. According to (Agbota, 2017), farmers who are committed to the cultivation of Jatropha diversified their operation to other crops because they are not getting support after investing in Jatropha plantation. No incentive provided for the farmers. They reported that government initiative for the production of biodiesel as alternative sources of power was abandoned along the line.
There is emerging market for biodiesel and organic fertilizer raw materials in Nigeria. The supply of Jatropha is not yet meeting up with the demand for biodiesel and fertilizer production. Investment in Jatropha has been reported as a profitable business in Nigeria. As reported by Agbota (2017), Mr Gbenga Boluwajoko, the managing Director Golden Solutions noted that investors and farmers can make up to ₦495,000 to ₦500,000 and above from two hectares of land in the first eight months and double the money in the second year as it will fruit twice the third year because the plant would have fully matured. He further reiterated that from local market alone, mixing Jatropha oil with our petrol and do retrospective of 30 per cent crude oil plus 70 per cent of Jatropha, the cost of buying petrol will come down. On export market, Nigeria can generate ₦1.5 trillion in a year. The stakeholders in Jatropha oil and bio-diesel production in Nigeria have once called on the Federal Government invest N500 billion funds for the development of all the value chains of the product. As stated by National President of Jatropha Growers, Processors and Exporters Association of Nigeria (JaGPEAN), retired Maj-Gen. J. A. Omosebi, this N500 billion could help the country in meeting its initiative to reduce the consumption of fossil-based diesel by blending 20 per cent of bio-diesel into every litre of fossil diesel (Agbota, 2017).
Jatropha production has been judged to be a lucrative business in Nigeria. A study conducted by Ezihe (2016) on economic of Jatropha plan production in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State showed that on average a farmer get an annual return of ₦ 84,166.4168 from the production process. He concluded that Jatropha plant production is capable of addressing the needs of the rural farmers thereby increases the living standard of the populace in the study area since the result have revealed the profitability of Jatropha plants production. Fakayode et al. (2012) noted that Jatropha cultivation was shown to be very profitable. Among jatropha products only the costs of the biodiesel Jatropha fuel is relative expensive when compared with common fossil diesel. However, economics of scale from large scale Jatropha production are expectedly pointes to considerable cuts in Jaropha bio-diesel production costs. Nigeria has been noted to have comparative advantage in biofuel market due to the availability of affordable land and relatively cheap labour costs, these are incentives to produce biofuels in Nigeria at the least cost possible (Carrington, 2012).
4. Socioeconomic concern about Jatropha production
Any effort targeting at economic diversification and development must considered the following socio-economic issues; the effect on livelihood, food production and security; employment and income generation. Production of jatropha to meet the anticipated biofuel demand depends on large-scale adoption of intensive monoculture practices which could impact negatively on people and livelihoods. Shifting from fossil fuels to biofuels would exacerbate existing land problems and create particular challenges to food supplies for the poor due to a shift from food cropping to fuel cropping (Acheampong and Campion, 2013). Galadima et al. (2011) noted that the issues and concerns about biofuel production is that it will lead to the substitution of food for fuel and agricultural land for fuels. Mass campaign and support for Jatropha production if this is not properly communicated could exacerbate existing land problems and create particular challenges to food supplies for the poor due to a shift from food cropping to fuel cropping. Research efforts should be intensified to determine the impact of large scale production of Jatropha on household livelihood.
The issue of household food security is an important indicator of economic growth and development. It is defined in its most basic form as physical and economic access by all people at all times to the food needed for a healthy and active life (Hoddinott, 1999). In Brazil and Honduras for example, food security was negatively impacted due to the replacement of food crops with biofuel crop and the market for jatropha seeds is not present (Finco and Doppler, 2010). However, the study conducted by FAO in Tanzania revealed no negative impact of biofuel crop production on household food security (FAO, 2010). This implies that plan and efforts on large scale and commercialization of biofuel crop gave due consideration for household food security. Schoneveld et al. (2010) revealed in their study on their study on the impact of large-scale land acquisitions for biofuel feedstock expansion in Ghana that there was a significant decline in household livelihood and this decline was due to a considerable drop in crop yields as fields were cleared for Jatropha and minor crops were destroyed, thereby reducing household incomes and availability of food.
Employment and income generation issues are also important consideration when promoting jatropha production. Sustainability of livelihood and employment generation is key to economic growth. Large-scale agricultural enterprises can produce numerous benefits to affected communities. Jobs are expected to be created with development of Jatropha and biodiesel production. Schoneveld et al. (2010). stated that Jatropha plantation is labour intensive at land preparation and planting phase indicating that more labour are required at this phase. However, this number would likely reduce which implied that many employees will lose steady employment once trees mature and expansion ceases. Most studies conducted to assess the socio-economic impact of industrial biofuel plantation in Africa revealed a decline in the number of workers after the project had been fully established (Acheampong and Campion, 2013). The sustainability of jobs created by biofuel investments is therefore remains a key issue.
5. Constraints to Jatropha and biodiesel production in Nigeria
Jatropha production is faced with series of problems and this covers different categories such as economic, ecological, institutional and market accessibility (Axelsson et al., 2011). The problems under ecological category include climatic condition, poor yield and water scarcity. In the economic category, the problem includes insufficient income and high cost of labour. The institutional problems are lack of support and poor policy implementation. One of the most important barriers to continued cultivation of Jatropha was the low or non existing economic returns from the plantations. In most cases there was no or very low yield, and hence no incomes from harvests to cover the cost for the plantation (Axelsson et al., 2011). Failure to reach satisfying yield has been reported as one of the problems facing Jatropha production due to unstability of soil and climate.
Promotion of Jatropha will provide a multipurpose opportunity. The production, as well as utilization of Jatropha products could increase income, improve livelihood and ensure energy availability as well as reducing poverty and food insecurity. It could serve as yardstick for employment generation and economic development. However, maximizing the potential benefits of Jatropha enterprise requires integrated structure in relation to soico-economic impacts of promoting large scale production. These recommendations are made in order to address some socioeconomic challenges associated with Jatropha production.
• Jatropha farmers should not dedicate their entire fields to Jatropha (monoculture) production. If the entire farmland is to be used for cultivation of Jatropha, intercrop with food crops should be adopted.
• There is need for continuous research into Jatropha oil quality and quantity to achieve higher value markets. The potential for Jatropha by-products needs further investigation and analysis to determine cost effectiveness, sustainability and market possibilities.
• Appropriate Jatropha promotion policies should be established and adequately implemented.
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