Women’s Jatropha Development Project Thanamalwila Uva Sri Lanka.

Initiated by Dorothea Schmidt Swiss Friends of FfP alternative resource income for women to be a two-year project started in January 2003, to research and create sustainable income generation for existing rural women groups engaged in economic activities in the Tanamalwila area. The goal of increased income generation will be achieved by introducing economic activities related to Jatropha, an indigenous plant that produces wild castor beans. These beans contain viscous, non-edible oil, which can be used for the production of high quality soap, as a raw material for cosmetic products, as fuel for cooking and lighting and as a substitute for diesel fuel.

The pilot project to transpire within the projected timeframe. The findings and experience to show or not that there is a high potential value in the pursuit of further development of Jatropha enterprises in the arid rural areas of Tanamalwila. Equally, if there has been the co-operation between all implementing organizations to achieve the timely execution of the pilot phase.

The following to be achieved during this period

– Collection of significant quantities of Jatropha seeds and production and multiplication of Jatropha seedlings and cuttings. It has been found that although the plant is widespread, it does not exist in large concentrated plantations. Will concentrated plantations be adopted? Seeds to be obtained from different areas within the district for oil pressing.

– Oil and soap production to be undertaken. Samples of low cost technologies, which use Jatropha oil as an ingredient in soap making and as fuel for cooking and lighting to be developed and tested.

– Equipment to be installed and demonstration at the household level for soap making for one groups in FfP Tanamalwila.

– The project willhave short listed viable women’s groups for future project expansion; to have designed business plans for the women groups in both seed and oil production and for viable soap making enterprises.

– A market study to be completed on different Jatropha products, which can compete with existing products in the market (i.e. soap, paraffin, diesel) and a commercial strategy to be developed on ways to introduce these Jatropha products on the market.

– The first phase to enabled us to understand better the social environment and technical constraints of promoting this range of products. The second phase will focus more on market analysis and development.

– From this phase a working group has been formed to undertake various objectives of phase II of the project.