We will plant 100,000 Jatropha trees through Sirona Cares!
We are really excited to contribute to the Sirona Cares Jatropha project. The jatropha plant is indigenous in Haiti and produces a toxic, non-edible oil. Rural Haitians know it as gwo medsinye and use it for folk medicinal purposes. Jatropha seeds produce an oil suitable for use as raw fuel, or to be converted into biodiesel. Of the native high oil yield plant species, the Jatropha curcas will grow in thin, eroded soil and is well adapted to drought. It has been reported that due to the toxic nature of the plant, a jatropha living fence protects valuable food or cash crop from foraging animals. It also may benefit crop growth by reducing moisture loss from winds and by increasing soil moisture retention. No food crops will be displaced during this project.
In addition to biodiesel applications, jatropha oil has also been used for:
• Fuel for cooking stoves
• Fuel for lighting
• Production of soap, skin care and cosmetics
In summary, jatropha cultivation has potential benefits to local farmers producing the crops, small business entrepreneurs producing and distributing biodiesel, and the environment by diminishing soil erosion, reducing the loss of trees for charcoal production, and air pollution from cook fires.
Sirona initiated a pilot program in 2009 and now has 1000 farmers in their network ready to plant. The JDT Foundation will support Sirona with funds to maintain a long-term jatropha cultivation program. We have provided funding for 100,000 trees. The program is based upon the voluntary participation of farming cooperatives throughout Haiti where rainfall adequately irrigates the Jatropha plant. You can read more about the project at the Sirona Cares site.