Deconstructing a Biofuel Hype: The Stories of Jatropha Projects in South Sulawesi, Indonesia
- Tuesday 27 November 2018
2311 GJ Leiden
- Promotor: Prof. dr. G.A. Persoon, Universiteit Leiden
- Co-promotor: Dr. ir. J.A.C. Vel, Universiteit Leiden
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In the early of 2000s, Jatropha Curcas, popularly known in Indonesia as Jarak Pagar, emerged as a popular focus of both research and investment in the biofuels sector. In that period of time, jatropha was introduced worldwide as a response to the global concerns on climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and rural poverty. In specific, the plant was promoted as a high yielding oil-producing plant with high market demand and steadily increasing price following the rise of global and national fossil fuel price. However, many of the claims made regarding the plant have proven to be highly exaggerated. Starting from 2008 onwards, the scientific literature and news reports from around the world were increasingly documenting a growing disappointment about jatropha’s performance, especially in the marginal areas where it has been advertised to thrive.
Widjaja's research took place in South Sulawesi in order to investigate the implementation of jatropha projects in the period of 2006-2011. This research aims to understand the key factors that were influential in the rise and fall of jatropha projects. The analysis was focused on jatropha actors’ motivations, strategies and experiences to understand what opportunities and benefits that were pursued by the involved actors and how the achievements of the opportunities and benefits redefine the failure of the projects. The findings were synthesized to draw a lesson learnt on what we can learn from the observed jatropha stories for the other miracle crops.
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Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
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