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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3615-3643; doi:10.3390/su6063615
Article

The Rise, Fall and Potential Resilience Benefits of Jatropha in Southern Africa

1,3,†,* , 2,4,†
 and 3,†
Received: 3 February 2014; in revised form: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [705 KB, uploaded 5 June 2014]
Abstract: Jatropha is the latest in a list of “miracle crops” that have been promoted in southern Africa for their perceived development benefits. This was based on promises of high yields, low water requirement, ability to grow on marginal land and lack of competition with food. In less than 10 years, tens of thousands of hectares were acquired for jatropha plantations and thousands of hectares were planted, most of which are now unused or abandoned. Overestimations of jatropha yields coupled with underestimations of the management costs have probably been the prime contributors to the collapse of most jatropha projects in southern African. However, a few projects still survive and show signs of possible long-term sustainability. We consider two such projects, a smallholder-based project in Malawi and a large-scale plantation in Mozambique. Though their long-term sustainability is not proven, both projects may increase resilience by diversifying household income streams and contributing to national fuel security. By identifying what seems to be working in these projects we provide insights as to why other projects may have failed in southern Africa and whether there is still place for jatropha in the region. In essence can jatropha still enhance local/national resilience or are jatropha’s benefits just a myth?
Keywords: jatropha; biofuels; southern Africa; Malawi; Mozambique; smallholder scheme; large plantation; resilience jatropha; biofuels; southern Africa; Malawi; Mozambique; smallholder scheme; large plantation; resilience
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

von Maltitz, G.; Gasparatos, A.; Fabricius, C. The Rise, Fall and Potential Resilience Benefits of Jatropha in Southern Africa. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3615-3643.

AMA Style

von Maltitz G, Gasparatos A, Fabricius C. The Rise, Fall and Potential Resilience Benefits of Jatropha in Southern Africa. Sustainability. 2014; 6(6):3615-3643.

Chicago/Turabian Style

von Maltitz, Graham; Gasparatos, Alexandros; Fabricius, Christo. 2014. "The Rise, Fall and Potential Resilience Benefits of Jatropha in Southern Africa." Sustainability 6, no. 6: 3615-3643.


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