Experience with Jatropha in Mali
Many actions have been carried out by GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) in the late 1980’s, developing technologies including the multi-functional platform (or energy platform) which can run on jatropha oil. The project was executed in cooperation with the CNESOLER (Centre National d'Energie Solaire & des Energies Renouvelables - Malian National Centre for Solar & Renewable Energy). Soap making from jatropha was also developed further. Traditionally women pressed the seed by hand to make a natural rough black soap with valued dermatological properties. However, using a mechanical jatropha press it is easy to produce pure clean oil that can be used to make finer white soap with the same properties but white in colour and with a much smoother texture. The value added in this white soap production is also higher. The use of the press cake as a fertiliser was also developed.
However, in the 1990’s, the project was brought to an early end, and with it many of the activities. One of the reasons was that is was seen as an energy project, but in the field the women’s groups were much more interested in the income generating activities made possible by jatropha and the environmental benefits it brought, rather than the energy aspect.
Brief history of projects involved in promotion of Jatropha, funded by GTZ and UNDP:
• Renewable energy
• Combatting erosion
• Promotion of women
• Combatting poverty