Indonesia has plans to expand its area under jatropha cultivation to 1 million hectares, producing roughly around 2.3 million tons of crude jatropha oil annually and is targeting China as a key market, Dow Jones Newswires quoted deputy minister for the development of disadvantaged regions, Tatang Wiranto, as saying.
Speaking on the sidelines of a biodiesel conference late Wednesday (27/6/07), Wiranto said Indonesia has signed a memorandum of understanding with PT Indo Wellable, a local subsidiary of Chinese energy group Wellable, to look into the feasibility of supplying jatropha oil to the Chinese market.
The company will work with provincial governments to identify suitable areas for growing jatropha curcas, a fast growing perennial plant that can grow on wasteland and begins producing oil in its second year of growth.
A trial project involving several thousands of farmers in underdeveloped Nusa Tenggara began in May and their yield, expected in less than a year, will be closely monitored for future projects, said Sani Santoso, president director of PT Indo Wellable. The project involves planting jetropha in an area totaling 30,000 hectares.
In West Kalimantan, 300,000 hectares of wasteland have already been acquired for future plantations, and possible locations in Central and East Kalimantan, as well as West Sumatra, should provide additional land, said Wiranto.
Funding for the project, however, is still uncertain and a target date for the supply of the 2.3 million tons of jatropha oil has yet to be determined.