Jatropha curcas Production in Zimbabwe: Uses, Challenges and the Way Forward

  •  Charles Karavina    
  •  E. Zivenge    
  •  Ronald Mandumbu    
  •  Cosmas Parwada    


The jatropha plant was introduced to Zimbabwe in 1940. Until recently, jatropha production was mainly done by communal farmers in marginal areas of the country. Being a multipurpose tree, the jatropha plant was being used to produce soap, lubricants and in soil conservation. Due to the fuel crisis that gripped Zimbabwe over the last decade, there has been a move towards producing biodiesel to complement imported fossil fuel. There is potential to produce animal and plant protectants, and organic fertilizer from jatropha. The current utilization of the plant is limited by lack of a clear government policy, unfavorable selling prices and unavailable agronomic information. There is need for government to come up with a policy that encourages production, research and utilization of biofuels. Information on jatropha propagation should be made available, not only in English, but vernacular languages also. Research should be encouraged so that varieties that are higher yielding are produced.

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