Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol.35, No.5, 2080-2086, 2011
Characterisation of land types and agro-ecological conditions for production of Jatropha as a feedstock for biofuels in Zimbabwe
There is increasing interest in Zimbabwe in developing a biofuels industry based on the production of biodiesel using Jatropha as the main feedstock. This has led to the introduction of Jatropha as a commercial energy crop in the country. There are plans to grow 1220 km(2) of Jatropha which will supply about 365,000 t of seed. This will provide about 110 dam(3) of biodiesel required to achieve a blending level of 10% with petro-diesel. The availability and suitability of land for the production of Jatropha cannot be taken for granted, particularly given the fact that the concept and practice of production of feed-stocks for biofuels remain contested on the threat they pose to food security. Determining the land that is potentially available for biofuels is a non-trivial task. A multiplicity of factors needs to be considered. It is important to determine the spatial extent of areas with suitable growth conditions for Jatropha. The interaction of soil type and land use is an important interface in agriculture. Added to this is the need to balance food, fodder and fuel supply in land use planning. This paper attempts to assess the availability and suitability of various land types as well as agro-ecological conditions for the production of Jatropha in Zimbabwe. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.