Jatropha Curcas

Since we learned and studied the Jatropha Curcas we have seen the benefits this plant can give to the Gambian people and we know that Jatropha is getting a lot of worldwide attention these days.

Why is this Jatropha so important?

Jatropha Curcas (Tabanani in Wolof, Tuba Toboo in Mandinka, Kiidi in Fula, Buchinab in Jola) is a wide spread plant which is growing in the Gambia bush as in most tropical countries; it is often used as a live fence, and its leaves are used to treat certain skin ailments. The hedgerows protect agricultural soils against erosion, and it is inedible to animals. The oil from the seeds can be used to replace candles, used for cooking stoves, to make soap and also as fuel for diesel engines i.e. local public transport, busses, private cars and generators.

All together this will improve the financial status for the communities: less spending on candles and firewood and income from soap production and the sales of the seeds they don't need themselves.

At the same time the cutting of trees for firewood will stop and the Gambian forest can grow back and Stop The Sahara.

The Plant

The Plant is a widespread plant which is planted in tropical and subtropical countries as a living hedgerow to protect the Mahoganies and fields from animals. It produces small seeds which contain more than 30% of non edible oil. Jatropha Curcas can be grown in 55% of the African continent.

The products

  • - Oil for oil evening lights, as a replacement for expensive candles
    - the oil can be used as fuel in pre-combustion chamber diesel engines
    - the oil can be used as lubrificant
    - the oil and the sediment can be used for soap production
    - in special stoves the oil can be used for cooking, so no longer tree cutting for firewood or charcoal
    - the press cake is a good organic fertilizer
    - the oil contains also a natural insecticide

The oil extraction

The oil extraction can be done with hand- or engine driven expellers. These are simple machines, which can be operated on village level and built within the country. PSTS will train metal workers and welders on building the presses and cooking stoves, so they will be able to build these in the country.