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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3732-3746; doi:10.3390/su6063732

Drivers and Consequences of the First Jatropha curcas Plantations in Mexico

LPI3 Colegio de Postgraduados, Predio Tepetates, Veracruz 91690, Mexico
Biomedical Engineering Department, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico D.F. 09340, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Jatropha curcas has received great attention and national support by Mexican authorities interested in promoting cash crops to alleviate poverty and rural crises. Thus, several states have implemented programs to sponsor its cultivation and research. This paper analyzes the policies generated by the Mexican government to promote the establishment of Jatropha plantations for biofuel purposes. The supporting schemes, the state-of-the-art national research and the environmental implications of establishing this new crop were reviewed to assess their impact on small-scale producers that participated in these programs. Scientific research on native germplasm indicates the existence of great diversity in Mexico, including non-toxic ecotypes, from which highly productive varieties are being developed. However, when the plantation programs started, producers were not technically or economically prepared to face the risks associated with this new crop, nor was there a good internal supply-chain. Consequently, some programs have been abandoned and the low productivity and income generated by the plantations have not satisfied producer expectations. Thus, there is a need to review the national strategy to support this crop and to develop a well-structured biofuel market in the country for the success of Jatropha plantations in Mexico.
Keywords: Mexican Jatropha; bioenergy policies; Mexican research Mexican Jatropha; bioenergy policies; Mexican research

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Valdés Rodríguez, O.A.; Vázquez, A.P.; Muñoz Gamboa, C. Drivers and Consequences of the First Jatropha curcas Plantations in Mexico. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3732-3746.

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