Promoting Jatropha Agriculture for Sustainable Soil Capital Improvement: A Win-Win Technology for Rehabilitating Degraded Lands in Africa

  • Joshua O. Ogunwole
  • Olufunmilola Alabi
  • Omadachi Ugbabe
  • Birhanu Z. Birhanu
Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 53)


A significant decline in soil quality has occurred across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) through adverse changes in soil properties causing serious challenge to regional food security. This paper presents the new Jatropha technology for soil quality improvement and its importance for meeting rural energy demand in SSA. The paper starts from the premise of Jatropha agriculture and its impact on soil quality improvement with reference to examples from the drylands of Nigeria and Mali. Having reviewed the sweeping claims on Jatropha’s role and ability as alternative energy source, its ‘alleged’ cheap domestication and rush for mega plantations of Jatropha, the paper weighs the controversies surrounding the sustainable production, land grabbing and consequent economics of Jatropha productivity in mega plantation settings. It suggests the need to focus Jatropha agriculture and research in SSA toward rehabilitation of degraded lands, wastelands and badlands while, promoting Jatropha hedge-row fencing for small-holder farming. In addition to technical availability in terms of soil improvement and seed yield, it is suggested that indiscriminate tree-felling for fuel wood in SSA can be checked through a shift from current petrochemical technologies to biodiesel alternatives. The main conclusion is that first, SSA must consider as germane, a natural resource improvement approach based on a new green and bioenergy revolution, and secondly that a regional, pro-active and strategic direction is required to promote Jatropha research for innovation to deliver solutions to addressing the hydra-head environmental challenge of declining soil quality and fuel wood scavenging in the region.


Jatropha curcas L. Carbon sequestration Soil physical quality Green economy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua O. Ogunwole
    • 1
  • Olufunmilola Alabi
    • 2
  • Omadachi Ugbabe
    • 2
  • Birhanu Z. Birhanu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Management and Crop ProductionBowen UniversityIwoNigeria
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureAhmadu Bello UniversityZariaNigeria
  3. 3.ICRISATWest and Central African stationBamakoMali

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