During the recent DUN sitting, Dato Sri James Jemut Masing advised to the Jatropha planters to get the crop seed suppliers to buy back the seeds; and they should not embark on expanding the areas that they have already planted with the crop.
Summary of Findings from MARDI's Assessment on Jatropha Curcus: Economical and Technical Perspectives as a Smallholder Crop in Malaysia.
* Oil yeild for jatropha at 1.2 tonne per ha is about 3 TIMES LOWER than that for oil palm at 3.6 tonne per ha.
* There is NO NET PROFIT from jatropha cultivation as compared to RM6,700 - RM6,800 per ha per year for oil palm and rubber.
* If family labour is fully used the return of RM2,400 per ha per year for jatropha is about 3 TIMES and about 4 TIMES LOWER than that for oil palm and rubber, respectively.
* To be competitive with rubber and oil palm, the yield or price of jatropha seeds has to be at leat 3 times higher than the estimated oil yield of 1.2 tonne per ha and price of RM2,000 per tonne used in the assessment.
* Jatropha cuiltivation is the most labour intensive at 105 man day compare to 41 and 80 man day for oil plam and rubber, respectively. This high labour requirement for jatropha cultivation underscored the need for mechanication especially for harvesting operation.
* Non-synchoronisation of flowering/fruit ripening and the position of the fruits within the canopy impede the prospect of "whole-crop" harvesting and the concomitant effect on seed yield and quality.
* There is no certified variety/clone of jatropha available to date as R&D in jatropha is new and breeding cycle takes about 7-8 years.
* Planting of materials that has not been thoroughly evaluated is a big risk to smallholders due to the perennial nature of jatropha.
* Contrary to popular belief, pests and diseases can be a major challenge once jatrpopha is planted in a commercial scale.
* Presently there is no marketing channel and price structure for jatropha production in the country.