Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh government has embarked on a mission of linking poor and marginal farmers and tribals of drylands and semi-arid tropics with bio-diesel revolution while retaining the strong economic competitiveness for the industry.
“The government is keen in partnering with the institutions like International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Indian Institute of Science (IIS) in Bangalore and some research organizations like The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Sutra,” Joint Commissioner of Rural Development ministry of Andhra Pradesh and in-charge of bio-diesel plantation Nirmala told PTI.
Nearly 300 hectares of common property degraded land in Velchal and Kothlapur villages of Ranga Reddy district were shown to ICRISAT, while involving the women Self-Help Group (SHGs), project director of District Water Management Agency (DWMA) Narasimha Reddy said.
Through its watershed development project, ICRISAT is promoting the cultivation of pongamia and jatropha crops from which bio-diesel can be extracted, he added.
“Once the trees mature the women collect the seeds and press out the oil in their villages or sell them to large-scale processors to earn hard cash,” SP Wani, Regional Theme Leader on Watershed Development, told ICRISAT. DWMA has provisions to support the SHGs in extracting the oil after maturity of trees, Reddy added.
The project for the poor tribal community of Powerguda village in Adilabad district, extracted a different kind of success, thanks to the initiative by Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA).
West Godavari Collector Lav Agarwal said farmers, who go for curcas, would get Rs. 12,000 from TERI as part of the buy-back facility.
According to him, a survey is going on for the land in Krishna, Khammam, East Godavari and some districts in Rayalaseema including Anantapur, for similar projects to come up.
Explaining the uses of the bio-diesel, the ICRISAT scientist Wani said it would lead to greater reductions in air pollution than ethanol.
“Compared to fossil fuel-derived diesel, biodiesel reduces un-burnt hydrocarbons by 30%, carbon monoxide by 20% and particulate matter by 25%,” he said.
Since biodiesel is a renewable source of energy, producing it qualifies to earn carbon credits for offsetting global warming, he added.