In Mali, Trees for All has planted millions of jatropha bushes, yielding physic nuts for local farmers. The plant’s roots retain moisture and so prevent soil erosion. The oil from the nuts can also be used to make bio-diesel.
In Mali, Trees for All has planted millions of jatropha bushes, yielding physic nuts (Jatropha curcas) for local farmers. Because they are poisonous, the bushes form a natural barrier against goats and cows. The plant’s roots retain moisture and so prevent soil erosion. Jatropha bushes have been around for decades in the Sahel region of Western Africa, but have recently attracted lively interest because the toxic seeds are rich in oil. The oil from the nuts is converted into bio-oil that can then be used to fuel the generators to drive grain mills or to pump up water. Such generators are used in many villages.
For this project Trees for All has been working together with the Foundation Mali Biocarburant (FMB), which represents farmer cooperatives and the local bio-diesel plant. In the initial years of the foundation, Trees for All was represented on its management board. As soon as it was able to function independently, we took a step back.
The oil can also be used to make bio-diesel. The sale of the nuts generates additional income for the farmers. The planting of millions of bushes with our help has piqued the interest of other, far bigger donors, who have been upping their support for the FMB since 2015. That has led us to scale back our donations since 2016. In 2017 we still supervised the contribution of 50,000 jatropha bushes on behalf of Denmark’s Happy Trees Foundation, which through us has been backing the project for years. The fact that the farmers profit directly from the jatropha is the best guarantee that the bushes will be sustainably managed.
The planting of millions of bushes has attracted the interest of other, far larger donors.