Testing jatropha sustainability standards

By | March 23, 2010

Posted March 23, 2010

Jatropha developer SG Biofuels recently announced it has developed the first large-scale jatropha community-farming initiative in Central America and has entered into its first project with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels to test and enhance sustainability standards for jatropha cultivation.

The SG Biofuels/RSB pilot is evaluating the practicality and usability of RSB sustainability standards applied against a 1,400-acre (600 hectare) Jatropha community-farming model established by SG Biofuels in Guatemala.

Through the model, participating community farmers received free seedlings and monthly technical training from SG Biofuels. The company has also eliminated the harvest sale risk to the farmers by providing guaranteed purchase contracts of 100 percent of the production.

"We're committed to socially and environmentally responsible cultivation of Jatropha," said Kirk Haney, SG Biofuels president and CEO. "Through our community-farming initiative and pilot with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, we're working to establish a model system for the sustainable production of Jatropha that provides economic value to farmers while hedging out the harvest risk. The sustainability insights gained through the pilot will be critical as we deploy large-scale community-farming and plantation projects around the world."

The project includes more than 380 farmers in 25 distinct communities. Plantations were established without displacing food crops, on land considered marginalized and unsuitable for food crops.

"The pilot project with SG Biofuels provides us with the opportunity to test and improve our sustainability standards against a unique model of Jatropha production," said Matthew Rudolf, regional manager of the Americas for the RSB.

Guatemala is home to SG Biofuels' Genetic Resource Center, containing the world's largest and most diverse library of jatropha genetic material. The company recently announced the world's first elite Jatropha cultivar, JMax 100, optimized for Guatemala.

SG Biofuels also launched the JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform, providing growers, plantation developers and research agencies access to the highest yielding and most profitable Jatropha in the world, the sequenced genome and advanced genomics platform to develop elite cultivars specifically designed for their unique growing conditions.

SOURCE SG BIOFUELS
 
 
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