Fences for fuel a project completed at Viratnagar by SPRI and HPPI with World bank assistance
Consultant Ashwani Kumar
To introduce the concept of planting Jatropha Curcas as fencing at small holders level and start up production of Jatropha oil and bio-fuel.
The livelihood of the rural population of Rajasthan, counting approximately 75% of the total population of the state, is highly dependent on natural resources and climatic conditions. Environmental stresses of deforestation, droughts, and decreasing ground water and soil fertility force thousands of people from the poorest section of the rural community annually to migrate to the cities in search of jobs. At the same time small holders and other marginalized people contribute considerably to the degradation of the land on which they depend due to harmful daily practices, as felling of trees for firewood, inefficient use of water etc.
“Fences for Fuel“ promotes four main aspects of development which combine to help assure a sustainable way of life for small holders and the land that supports them: Renewable energy, erosion control and soil improvement, women empowerment and poverty reduction. By planting Jatropha Fences and setting up a bio-fuel production unit together with an association of farmers in 40 villages the project will support small holders in making use of a system that will help them to improve their livelihood and take care of their environment. The project will develop and demonstrate a model for “Fences for Fuel” that will become accessible for smallholders, with practical examples of plantation and maintenance of Jatropha fences, production of oil and bio-fuel and the utilization of these products.
NOTE: This summary will be used in publications to describe the project, and in any information provided to the jury, reviewers, potential funders, the general public, and our website. The DM Team reserves the right to edit your project summary to enhance readability.
3. Problem Definition (Suggested limit: 500 words)
Describe the specific problem(s) you are trying to address and why it is important. Your description should include estimates of the number of people affected by the problem(s) and its causes, a summary of other efforts/organizations dealing with this issue and why their approach may not be very effective.
3.1. Use of wood fuels contributing to deforestation, soil erosion and environmental degradation.
More than one third of Rajasthan is covered by the Thar Desert and most of the remaining land is semi arid, characterized by scarce rainfall and scarce forest vegetation. The majority of the rural population build their livelihood on agriculture and animal husbandry, thus depending almost 100% on natural resources. Depletion of water resources and green cover, are two major environmental problems which, at the same time, generate a series of closely related problems as lack of water for human and livestock consumption, high fluoride concentration in drinking water, lack of animal fodder, soil erosion and decrease in soil fertility, all together reinforcing the process of environmental degradation. With a growing population and livestock, an increasing number of consumers depend on decreasing natural resources. Firewood is one of the traditional fuels for cooking and heating in rural households on which the poorest section is highly dependent, thus deforestation is an important issue to address.
3.2. Use of wood-fuels combined with inadequate housing/cooking facilities causing high incidence of respiratory infection from indoor pollution.
Rural households, across all income levels, depend largely on traditional fuels such as firewood and dung cake. Gas and kerosene are becoming possible alternatives, but for the poorest households the traditional option is freely available, and is therefore often the only solution.
In The World Health Report 2002, issued by the WHO, it is estimated that indoor air pollution from household use of solid fuels results in 1.6 million deaths annually. This indoor smoke is a leading health risk in developing countries, claiming more lives than malaria and causing nearly as many deaths as are caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. The linkages between fuel use and health impacts are recognized in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The chapter “Health and Sustainable Development” advocates reducing respiratory diseases and other harmful impacts of air pollution by “supporting efforts for the reduction of emissions through the use of cleaner fuels” and “assisting developing countries in providing affordable energy to rural communities, particularly to reduce dependence on traditional fuel sources for cooking and heating.”
3.3. Limited income affecting marginalized families in Virat Nagar Bloc.
Virat Nagar block has 58,646 inhabitants (census 2001) out of which 83% belong to the rural section, where most households depend on agriculture and animal husbandry. One household in this area typically has ½ - 3 acres of land cultivated with mustard, wheat and pal-millet. Some families are also engaged in home industries like carpet weaving. It is common for all that it is hard to survive on the given conditions. Being almost 100% dependent on natural resources and climatic conditions many families or family members are forced to migrate to the city in search for jobs when the harvest fails. Lack of alternative income makes a family extremely vulnerable. The ongoing environmental degradation combined with the limited land availability per family contributes to difficulties of survival.
4. Idea and Innovation (Suggested limit: 800 words)
How does your project address problem identified in Q2? Why have you chosen your specific approach? Why is this approach better than existing ones? If relevant, please elaborate on the technologies/processes proposed, include diagrams/pictures if you feel it would better explain your idea, and state if the methodology/process/technology is proven or unproven (provide supporting evidence). If your idea includes a novel technology, please provide quantitative information if available (efficiency, capacity etc).
How is your idea truly innovative or unique? (PLEASE REFER TO ANNEX B FORTHE “TYPOLOGY OF INNOVATION” at the end of this document.) What specific characteristics of your project idea demonstrate that you are applying a novel/pioneering approach? To your knowledge, have similar ideas been tried before? Have they been implemented elsewhere (different country or context)? If so, please describe. What were the barriers to success, and how will you overcome them? If no, why hasn’t this idea been tried before?
“Fences for Fuel“ addresses the above mentioned problems by suggesting alternative solutions to the use of wood as cooking fuel, which is harmful both to health and to the natural environment. It also suggests alternative income possibilities to small holders.
We have chosen the “Fences for Fuel“ approach because cultivation and use of Jatropha promotes four main aspects of development, which combine to help assure a sustainable way of life for village farmers and the land that supports them:
Renewable energy - Erosion control and soil improvement - Women empowerment - Poverty reduction.
The approach is holistic and therefore has better chances of success than projects that address the above mentioned elements one by one. Furthermore the concept can be adapted in most areas in India, where temperatures remain above 1 degree Celsius.
Jatropha curcas is a plant of Latin American origin which is now widespread throughout arid and semiarid tropical regions of the world. It is a drought-resistant perennial, living up to 50 years and growing on marginal soils. The plant, because of its root system, is suitable for preventing soil erosion and the press cake left after pressing the oil makes an excellent fertilizer, similar in quality to that of chicken manure. Jatropha seeds contain about 35% of non-edible oil.
Jatropha makes efficient live fences in one or two years under dry conditions. The production of seeds is about 1 kg per meter of hedge per year. It can be pruned for firewood during its lifetime. Jatropha is not browsed by animals, and is easily grown from cuttings.
Raw Jatropha oil, extracted from its seeds, can be used for lamps, soap production or as cooking fuel. Jatropha oil used as cooking fuel does not emit harmful fumes. Fruit production will start after the first or second year. The seeds can be pressed in engine run oil expellers or in manual presses, thus with less efficiency. The refined the oil, bio-fuel can be used as a diesel substitute directly in simple types of diesel engines, such as water pumps, generators or grinding mills and tractors. There is a constant, daily demand for both products.
The uniqueness of “Fences for Fuel” lies in its complexity. Please see below table illustrating the “Jatropha System” as described by Mr. Reinhardt Henning from GTZ:
Promotion of Women Erosion Control Jatropha curcas L. Poverty Reduction Renewable Energy
Improvement of the working conditions of women (grain-mills) and income (soap production) through utilization of the Jatropha plant Erosion control through planting of Jatropha hedges and stabilizing small dams The Jatropha plant is used as a living fence around gardens and fields, since it is not consumed by animals Creation of income in rural areas through use of Jatropha oil as fuel and as raw material for soap production Production und use of Jatropha oil as fuel in stationary engines
Facilitation of soap production
Strengthening of economic independency of women
Payment of milling costs through Jatropha seed sales Living fences
Improvement of soil fertiliy
Reduction of wind and water erosion
Increase of hedge length in expectation of economic profit Yield of oil: 0,2 l per kg of seeds
Production: 1 kg seeds per meter of hedge per year
Existence of Jatropha in Mali: about 10.000 km protection hedges
Insecticidal and molluscicidal factors in the seeds Sale of Jatropha seeds
Improvement of rural income
Reduction of cash drain from rural to urban areas
Protection of food crops against gazing animals Plant oil engines
Substitution of diesel by Jatropha oil
Energy production in rural areas
Central hypothesis: “The Jatropha System creates a positive correlation between energy production and food production”.
Specific characteristics of a pioneering approach
Cultivation of Jatropha within a concept that promotes four main aspects of development as described above.
Combining grass root level “Fences for Fuel” project with scientific research, development and production of cooking stove and lamp models including establishment of a bio-fuel unit, by bio-fuel researchers.
Starting up the use of Jatropha oil as cooking fuel and soap production and bio-fuel for running agriculture machinery.
Making the “Fences for Fuel” concept available to Indian smallholders by showing a practical and viable example/model.
Similar ideas have been tried in various African countries over the past 10-12 years with successful outcome, for example by the NGO German Technical Assistance - GTZ” in Mali. A few projects have been implemented in India, among others by “Rural Community Action Centre (RCAC) in Tamil Nadu in 2001-03.
The barrier to success lies in creating a model of “Fences for Fuel” that is economically viable. In order to reach success Humana People to People India will take responsibility for leading the project during a total period of 5 years, until the Jatropha hedges start to yield the maximum quantity and quality of seeds, and the maximum oil production can take place.
5. Project implementation and milestones (Suggested limit: 1,000 words)
List and describe the concrete steps or activities that the project will undertake to implement your idea for the next 2 years and beyond (if relevant). Please provide a corresponding timeline and estimated duration of activities, if possible. Explain the status of implementation: Have you already tested or piloted the idea on the ground? Have you or others conducted a feasibility study on the idea? If yes, what were the findings? If your project is introducing a new technique or new technology, has it been proven? If yes, please provide supporting evidence.
NOTE: Having a brand new idea yet to be piloted is NOT a disadvantage in this competition.
Please provide a list of the major milestones during the implementation of your project with a corresponding timeline, preferably in a table or bullet list format. These milestones should match the main components/activities that you will have described in details in the previous paragraph. The progress of your project will be evaluated against those milestones and your receiving each tranche of DM funding will depend on reaching those milestones.
The project implements its idea through the following activities:
1. Mobilize members from 40 farmers clubs to join the project as active participants. The members will form an association on which they will base their activities as cultivators of Jatropha and suppliers of oil seeds.
2. Establish a nursery and produce 84,000 plants, 80,000 for hedges and 4,000 for demonstration fields.
3. Train Farmers Club members on the “Fences for Fuel” concept. The project will organize training sessions where the members will learn about the properties of Jatropha, to plant hedges and how to maintain healthy plants. Later on there will be workshops on oil extraction bio-fuel production and the utilization of both. Exposure visits to other Jatropa growers and bio-fuel producers will be included in the training.
4. Demonstration fields. On 4 demonstration fields of declared wasteland, each of ½ - 1 acre, in 4 different villages the project will establish Jatropha demonstration plantations, each of 1,000 plants. Here the project will have isolated production areas for demonstration, research and development.
5. Sale of plants to 400 Jatropha growers. The project will sell/distribute Jatropha plants to 400 members of the Farmers Clubs and assist the farmers in planting their hedges. The members can buy 100 plants and get 100 for free. The plants will cost 2 Rs per plant (0,086 USD).
6. Conduct environment awareness campaigns in 40 villages on the importance of improving tree-cover and switching to environment friendly fuels. The project will carry out monthly campaigns in 40 villages in the project area on environment awareness to promote protection of trees and use of Jatropha oil and / or bio-fuel for substitution of wood fuel. The campaigns will include schools and youth clubs.
7. Conduct workshops with all Women’s Self Help Groups in the area (more than 75 groups) for promotion of utilization of Jatropha oil as cooking fuel and lightening. The project will also discuss the possibility of the SHGs becoming running a smaller oil expelling production. This possibility depends on a closer viability study after having run the project over a period of at least 14 – 15 months.
8. Install 2 engine driven oil expellers with selected Women’s Self Help Groups, and assist them to start up production of raw Jatropha oil, that can be used directly in cooking stoves and lamps.
9. Start up soap production. The project, together with the Women’s Self Help Groups, will experiment with production of ordinary soap for local consumption and luxury quality (with fragrance and wrapping) for sale in surrounding tourist establishments.
10. Establish a bio-fuel production unit. The project will establish one bio-fuel production unit in one of the 40 villages of the project area. The production unit will be equipped with one engine driven oil expeller, one 50-liters bio-fuel reactor, and (various smaller equipment) As a first step the production unit will be handled by the project team in collaboration with selected members of the Farmers Clubs. After having established the “Fences for Fuel” model the production unit will be sold to a Farmers Club, or an individual in the village, who is capable of running the unit. With the income from the sale of the unit, approximately 7,000 USD, HPPI will create a revolving fund for starting up more production units.
11. Organize workshops in collaboration with Society for Rural Initiatives for Promotion of Herbals and Delhi College of Engineering. SRIPHL will organize workshops that deal with all aspects of the plantation and treatment of Jatropha. DCE will organize workshops that deal with all aspects of bio-fuel production. Both partners will give theoretical and practical input to the workshop participants.
12. Dissemination of methods. On completion of the project Humana People to People India will develop a booklet that provides instruction to interested future Jatropha growers at village level.