Jatropha stirs hope of biodiesel bounty

The glow from burning jatropha seed torches has often saved Maruti Chindu from treading on snakes, but now he carefully nurtures them for a use that he never imagined before — running cars and trucks.

In anticipation of the rapidly evolving biofuels market, dozens of private firms are contracting villagers to grow the hardy, oil-rich plant in their mostly barren plots of land.

India plans to replace around five per cent of its current 40 million tonnes of annual diesel consumption with jatropha biodiesel within about five years.

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