Social acceptability and eco-developmental problems associated with biofuel production.
By Ashwani Kumar
| November 8th 2009 06:55 PM | Print
. Social acceptability and eco-developmental problems associated with biofuel production. To overcome this problem we have always thought of Fences for fuel programme in which we introduce Jatropha or Castor as fence crops and in long run it may cover more than 40, 000 has in decentralised manner on individual farms. Peoples participation will reduce the costs and eco-damage by monoculture of Jatropha could be avoided.
I do like the idea of fencing and land demarkation using Jatropha Curcas and this can be a valuable part of any program. Jatropha and Castor a good intercrops. You are quite correct about avoiding mono-culture. Jatropha Cultivation can be intense without becoming mono culture. In fact the architecture of semi arid lands has to be one of the prime focuses of of profesional agricultural extension for energy agriculture. Those lands that have been identified within the Rajasthan region as available for Jatropha cultivation will require quite considerable management in order to become productive. This will involve extensive investigation of the potentials for complimntary activity. I can explain at length but at this stage it will suffice to say that part of the program will be to manufacture organic fertilisers from city and town waste/slurry and to ensure that there is a cycle of returning this to the land. Not just the energy agriculture land but also the food lands. Over time the lands will become enriched. Over many areas of the developing world I have witnessed semi arid rain fed land that is near to but peripheral to the food lands being promoted for Jatropha Curcas Linn. My observations are that invested time and inputs are without incentive or training and support management. This leads to failure, a decline in interest and of course wasted resources. KBC's ideology is to establish a complete program of partnership and support for farming communities so that commercial outputs become possible and with this an income stream is developed for the energy agriculture at grass root levels. Yes, this is requires considerable management and a system of inputs for primary farming, harvest protection, promotion and support as well as harvest collection and payment. In my view there can be no such thing as a loose partnership with the farming communities, we must strive to be a professional as possible. If we do not we cannot expect to deliver these peripheral hard to farm lands to an agreeable level of economic productivity. We certainly need to promote decentralised services however in order to do this we have to create demand that can afford to purchase and sustain servcies. Energy has an unlimited national market but we have to attend (in part) to an international market in order to ensure we can satisfy growing regional demands. While most focus only on Jatropha Curcas Linn our Centre of Excellence will focus upon additional biomass opportunity as well as the technicalities required to support semi arid rain fed farming opportunities with multiple crop solutions. In addition to this some of the specialist areas will be beekeeping, vermicomposting and general soil enhancement processes that can have a bioorganic impact. Socially I feel it is important to represent the over all regional activity as a business and enterprise opportunity (new business platform) that requires considerable investment that must be managed professionally. Rural farming communities do not generally engage with professional management partners, even for food. With a comprehensive energy agriculture program in place, in order to maximise the value of the logistics servcies, there will be a massive complimentary impact upon traditional food agriculture, not least the more rapid route to market.
2. Soil fertility has to be retained and soil nutrient cycle will play important role in oil contents and water is required by oil yielding plants including Jatropha during flowering and fruit ripening.
This is part of the over all program. Water management for the region will have to be improved. If one considers that currently the lands that could have an economic statement, yet are idle, are in fact simply allowing water to drain away each year. I realise that this is a rather strict assessment of reality yet it is true. By actively promoting agriculture in such areas we will stimulate soil improvement. We do not want to leave this to chance so it has to be managed proactively.
3. Growing plants as intermediate crops will also promote nitrogen fixation. Like Rajasthan has been known for growing guar and other pulses capable of fixing nitrogen. If such plants are planted with Biofuel plants the soil fertility will be restored.
Nitrogen fixing crops are always excellent intercrops. We will be in an excellent position to know what and when to plant. Part of the KBC ideology is to deliver Jatropha Curcas plants for establishing orchards complete with a Bolus of nutrient that includes Mychorhizza.
4. Organic carbon is important and some kind of composting system or green manuring has to be developed taking proper care of protection from soil pathogens and termites and white grubs . Providing oil cake of Jatropha could combat these problems.
The opportunity will be to produce bioorganic fertilizers and pesticides within the complex biorefinery operations. As said the KBC project will link in with the UN Clean cities program and with IFAD in order to support the retrun of nutrients to farm land as an integral part of the energy agriculture as well as support for food agriculture.
5. I have not worked on the commercial scale but I am very much conversant with plant production systems and we can take care of a. organisation of farmers groups b. motivating them for cultivation of biofuel c. motivating them to involve in oil crops and non edible oil crops
This is essential work. Farming communities require support and incentives.
6 installations of small scale refineries in decentralised manner
Small scale refineries can be very useful however KBC does not seek to promote subsistance farming we seek to establsih a program that gets farming communities above subsistance. If there work produces disposable incomes then this benefit will begin to drive the development of resources, improved water supplies/management/catchment, school improvements, infrastructure development. National projects like road development, power grids, communications and other servcies are drawn to where tax is collected. This is why it is essential to get these energy agriculture lands into productivity in ways that makes a national statement.