New report by Friends of the Earth Europe says Jatropha fails to deliver



Brussels/Abuja, January 21, 2011

The much-touted biofuel crop jatropha is neither a profitable nor a sustainable
investment, according to a new report released by Friends of the Earth Europe

‘Jatropha: money doesn’t grow on trees’ warns investors away from jatropha –
a shrub being increasingly planted for its oil-producing fruits and ability to
survive in arid conditions – stating growing evidence that the crop is failing
to deliver on its promises while simultaneously failing to prevent climate change
or contribute to pro-poor development. [1]

Paul de Clerck, Economic Justice programme coordinator for Friends of the Earth
Europe said: “European investment companies advertise that jatropha guarantees
high returns on marginal soils – but their promises are far from realistic. Many projects have already been abandoned because yields have stayed below expectations,
even on good soils
. Large-scale jatropha plantations are neither a profitable nor sustainable investment;
companies should stop land-grabbing for jatropha.”

Jatropha is being promoted by investment companies as a profit-making panacea,
providing a source of biofuel that can be grown on marginal land across Africa,
Asia and Latin America.  But research from Friends of the Earth Europe reveals
that investments in large-scale jatropha plantations are failing due to the crop’s
poor performance, with increasing evidence of low yields on poor quality soils,
and even good soil. The report highlights jatropha companies such as D1 Oils and
Flora EcoPower who have been unsuccessful, illustrating that the plant’s economic
viability is highly doubtful [2].

The investments are controversially fuelling land-grabs in Africa [3], displacing
farmers and communities whilst competing with food production and water supplies.

Mariann Bassey, food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends
of the Earth Nigeria said: “In Africa, farmland is taken away from communities
and people’s livelihoods are destroyed for yet another false solution to climate
change. Food prices are rising again, yet land is being snatched away to grow
fuel for cars. We want agriculture that allows us to grow food for people.”

The full report can be downloaded here:



[1] Summary:

[2] Publicly listed companies who invested in jatropha such as D1 Oils (UK) and
Flora EcoPower (Germany) have had disastrous share price records. BP pulled out
of their joint venture with D1 Oils because of disappointing results. Other examples
are the Swedish private company BioMassive, which leased land in Tanzania for
jatropha plantations, but reported losses until 2009 and have not been heard of
since. Dutch company BioShape, which also acquired land in Tanzania, was officially
declared bankrupt in 2010.


see also

NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on veggie oil





30.12.2008  (Washington  Post)

Air New Zealand to test new plant oil biofuel (jatropha)

13.6.2008  (Telegraph)
Air New Zealand to test new plant oil biofuel 




Brazilian airline TAM flies an Airbus A320 45 minute flight on 50% jatropha biofuel

Date Added: 24th November 2010


On 22 Nov an Airbus A320 powered by CFM56 engines was flown off the coast of
Rio de Janeiro, fuelled by a 50:50 blend of biofuel and conventional aviation
fuel. The 45-minute flight, which was conducted by Brazil’s largest airline TAM, used
biodiesel derived from jatropha seeds in what has been named the first experimental
flight in South America using aviation fuel. The biofuel was processed by UOP
LLC, a Honeywell group member.
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