By Prime Sarmiento, IPS
MANILA, Jun 23 (IPS) – The jatropha plant may be the key to addressing the problems of energy and food self-sufficiency in the Mekong region. Cultivating this hardy plant will not only provide biofuel but will also ensure that agricultural lands devoted to food production will not be diverted to fuel crops.
“Planting jatropha is commercially viable. The main advantage of jatropha is that you can plant it even in idle lands,” according to Mercedita A. Sombilla, who is conducting an Asian Development Bank (AsDB)-funded study on the development of the biofuel industry in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The GMS is composed of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the southern part of China.