Latin America Steps Up Cooperation on Developing Jatropha as a Sustainable Biofuel

17 January 2012: Six working groups of the Latin American and Caribbean Jatropha Curcas Network, supported by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and the Cooperative Program for Agricultural Research, Development and Innovation in the South American Tropics (PROCITROPICOS), will work during 2012 to promote LAC cooperation in identify ways to promote the socially and environmentally sustainable cultivation and harvesting of the oilseed plant jatropha curcus as a source of biodiesel and biokerosene.

The 2012 work program was agreed at two meetings held in Brazil in November and December 2011 attended by growers, researchers, government delegates and representatives of cooperation agencies. The six working groups will address: genetic breeding; agricultural practices; floral synchronization; post-harvest and byproducts; agro-climatic zoning; and sustainability. Among other things, a map of climatic suitability in LAC for growing and harvesting jatropha will be developed by Brazil's state-owned Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA).

IICA is a specialized affiliate of the Organization of American States (OAS) focused on cooperation regarding agriculture and rural development among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. PROCITROPICOS was formed in the 1990s by IICA and the member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and is anchored by EMBRAPA. The Jatropha Curcus Network for LAC was launched in 2008 by IICA and PROCITROPICOS and now includes institutions in 15 LAC countries. [IICA Press Release]