Jatropha offers the best proposition of all biofuel crops as it is a toxic crop that does not compete with food production. Jatropha actually augments the food chain because food crops may be interbred between the trees on the plantations. A well balanced intercropping scheme enhances a symbiotic and complimentary plant relationship to the benefit of both, food and fuel crops.
Intercropping allows planting of food crops before first harvesting of oil crops. By intercropping oil crops and cash crops in a balanced mix, we promote the symbiosis of food and fuel while supporting biodiversity and respecting the ecological balance. The intercropping methodology involving fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices contributes significantly to sustainable food production and generates short term job and business opportunities for impoverished rural communities. While the Jatropha plants are in the growing stage until seeds can be harvested cash crops generate early cash flow from food sales. Intercropping is also important because bio-diversity reduces plant diseases and provides pest-control, protecting the saplings during the critical growth phase.