Since 2005, Hivos has supported projects in Honduras, Mozambique, Peru, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe that are using Jatropha for local development. The focus has been on providing energy to rural areas, with added benefits coming from value-added products and organisational innovations, towards enhancing the local economy and resilience. From the experience with these and other projects as well as a large amount of research findings, a clearer picture is emerging about the role Jatropha can realistically play in development.
In this project, the focus is on Jatropha systems managed by small-scale farmers. Plantations and industrial approaches are only considered where they have a direct bearing on small-scale farmers. An evaluation of the previously named areas provides an overview of the failures and success stories. For instance in some areas of Mali, Jatropha production has now reached a stage where it is both attractive to farmers and profitable for commercial processors. This model is spreading to other countries in the region.
The question based on the projects is therefore not about whether Jatropha works or not. Instead, the interesting question is where and under what conditions does it work, and how can we make it work better.