Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be processed to produce a high- quality energy feedstock for use in biodiesel, renewable jet fuel or specialty products. Because it is a non-edible feedstock and can be effectively harvested on abandoned land that is considered undesirable for food crops, it does not compete with global food supplies.
Most early investments in Jatropha as a row crop focused on planting cultivars that had not gone through any genetic improvement program. Early growers of Jatropha were disappointed in yields and many early plantations failed, because little
attention was made to proper germplasm selection, agronomic best practices or the establishment of a complete value chain.
Today, a new era of Jatropha has emerged that is realizing the economic and environmental potential of the renewable energy crop. Investments and collaborative efforts among governments, research agencies, energy, transportation and agribusiness companies around the world are driving significant advancements through breeding, biotechnology and agronomics, resulting in significant gains in productivity and profitability.