Farmers in Itezhi-Tezhi town have embraced the farming of the Jatropha crop, apart from their usual crops like maize, cassava and groundnuts. This came to light at a field day titled Jatropha - plant once and harvest for 45 years. The field day was hosted by Kaingu Gem Mines and Papamel limited, as a means to exploit the potential of Jatropha farming.
Jatropha production and processing expert for Mumbwa and Itezhi-Tezhi towns Mr. Thomas Muswerakwenda said about the crop;
"The opportunities in the cultivation of Jatropha are many. The Jatropha crop does not require fertile soil or water but it grows on barren soil and generates nitrogen and minerals which are suitable for the cultivation of other crops as well."Unlike other crops which are only harvested once a year, the Jatropha crop can be harvested four times in a year and continues to produce oil seeds for over 40 years. Another added advantage is its limited need of labor and capital.
Biofuels produced from Jatropha can reduce the dependence on foreign sources of oil and other fuels, providing energy security and an economic boost for the famers and agriculture as a whole in contrast to fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal.
With government support, Jatropha is a crop that has great value and potential to reduce rural poverty and create employment in the rural areas.
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