Empowering rural communities by planting energy - Roundtable on bioenergy enterprise in developing regions

Oct 2007

Competition for other land uses, such as production of food or other crops that are being produced already, needs to be factored in at the beginning of the decision making process. Furthermore, from a variety of oil bearing crops (actually the same would go for plants used in the ethanol production chain) the most suited needs to be chosen, matching local soil, water and climatic conditions alongside classical economic arguments.
Jatropha is receiving heightened attention due to its specific characteristics of being able to grow on marginal land and with limited rainfall.
This paper, commissioned by UNEP as background to a Roundtable on biofuel sustainability in developing countries with special focus on Jatropha, aims at laying a basis for discussions. Rather than giving the answers, it pinpoints to issues that need to be addressed to help businesses to be developed sustainably, using Jatropha and other similar plants:

  • plant and technological requirements, challenges in the production and conversion phases and ways to address them;
  • business models and ways to help smallholders to get organised, including taking into account environmental and social co-benefits into classical cost-benefit analyses;
  • barriers and ways to overcome them (financial, agronomical and technological, and political)

By: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

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