VOICES FROM EX-PARTICIPANTS
|A person who participated in an IDACA training course in FY1999 has sent
us a report on efforts made toward the “Project Concerning Propagation
of Jatropha by Cooperatives in Thailand.” We would like to introduce
|CLT Aims at Rural Development via Jatropha
Jatropha is a deciduous shrub cultivated in Thailand to form protective
fences to guard gardens and fields from destructive animals.
The oil produced from the Jatropha plant and its seeds has provided four
major phases of development in terms of rural development: vitalization
of women’s activities, reduction of poverty, prevention of soil erosion,
and role as a source of energy for livelihood in rural communities and
equipment furnished there.
The advantages of Jatropha are that all relevant operations ranging
from the cultivation of these trees to processing steps to give them added
value can be completed entirely within the rural communities and that
the topography,soil, and climate conditions that exist there are suitable.
In addition, with Jatropha, there exists the possibility of linkage to
appropriate types of businesses such as farming, horticulture, and herbal
use. Cultivating Jatropha is also economically profitable, and moreover, Thailand’s
energy policy may possibly be changed by adopting and promoting anintercropping
system centering on Jatropha.
The use of Jatropha oil fuel is encouraged in Thailand from the viewpoint
that it contributes to economic revitalization and poverty alleviation.
In order for cooperatives to establish this as a viable business amid
this situation, it is necessary to establish methods for cultivating
Jatropha to secure sufficient quality and quantity and methods for refining Jatropha
oil. Members of cooperatives are seeking provision of scientific knowledge such
as technology concerning cultivation.
The Cooperative League of Thailand (CLT) has launched its “Project
Concerning Jatropha Propagation by Cooperatives.” This is an experimental
project for learning about how to disseminate technological support and know-how
concerning such matters as Jatropha cultivation, oil extraction, and bio-diesel fuel
production. With regard to funding, the CLT has continued to receive financial
support from JA Zenchu toward realization of this concept since 2006.
As model cases, the project was f irst carried out at Khong Samakkee
Agricultural Cooperative in Nakhon Ratchasima Province; next at Wieng
Sa Agricultural Cooperative in Nan Province; and then at Phanchalee Land
SettlementCooperative in Phitsanulok Province. These produced excellent
results and served as inspiration for further expansion of Jatropha plantations
among cooperatives in Thailand.
In 2009, the CLT received financial support from an international aid organization in Europe. It is making efforts to attach added value by not only extracting oil from Jatropha seeds, but also using the whole Jatropha plant such as making organic fertilizers from the fruit pulp and shell. It can be said that agricultural cooperatives that carry out these operations should be understood as a group of single-unit organizations at the rural community level that carry out bio-energy production and conduct “value-added chain activities“ involving creation of added value.
This project was developed as a strategy for promoting cooperatives,
as well as for raising the income levels and improving the livelihood
of small-scale farm households and poor people living in rural regions.
The CLT intends to play a leading role for further proliferation of
the Jatropha project.