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Like other countries which are experimenting on it, Brazil is similarly encountering snags in the cultivation of jatropha as potential feedstock for biodiesel.

This country, which first etched its mark in ethanol production, is currently pursuing aggressive research that shall underpin plans into developing varieties and production models that can be adapted to semiarid climate pre-dominating the Brazilian northeast area.

Petrobras spokesman Erico Monte pointed out “several hurdles still need overcoming regarding cultivating jatropha.”

Among the major challenges are on the use of wild seeds, “which generate low productivity plantations on account of the lack of certified, genetically-selected seeds,” he said.

There are also “large incidence of pests and diseases; and the lack of blossoming and fruit maturation uniformity, which requires a great deal of labor;” and in turn, increases costs for the producers.

Other countries which took their plunge into the jatropha alternative, such as India and Australia, have not achieved much success on these fronts

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