KOULIKORO, Mali ??? When Suleiman Diarra Banani???s brother said
that the poisonous black seeds dropping from the seemingly
worthless weed that had grown around his family farm for decades
could be used to run a generator, or even a car, Mr. Banani did
not believe him. When he suggested that they intersperse the
plant, until now used as a natural fence between rows of their
regular crops ??? edible millet, peanuts, corn and beans ??? he
thought his older brother, Dadjo, was crazy.
Jatropha grows in places like Koulikoro with little rainfall.
???I thought it was a plant for old ladies to make soap,??? he
But now that a plant called jatropha is being hailed by scientists
and policy makers as a potentially ideal source of biofuel, a
plant that can grow in marginal soil or beside food crops, that
does not require a lot of fertilizer and yields many times as much
biofuel per acre planted as corn and many other potential
biofuels. By planting a row of jatropha for every seven rows of
regular crops, Mr. Banani could double his income on the field in
the first year and lose none of his usual yield from his field.
Jason M. Evans, Ph.D.
Postdoctorate Research Associate
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
(352) 466-4549 - office
(352) 328-1199 - cell
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society