In our country, the Western Ghats and Plains are available for the growth of saplings required for biofuel production. Apart from this, the farmers can grow these saplings in the hedges of farm lands, backyards and barren lands. It is estimated that about 13.5 lakh hectares of barren land is available in Karnataka. The oil obtained from seeds of naturally growing plants and trees can be used for the manufacture of biofuel. In our country, the oil seeds from more than 150 kinds of trees can be used for biofuel. Most importantly, Pongamia, Jatropa, Neem, Hippe, Simarouba etc. can be grown and used for producing biodiesel.
Crops like sugarcane, maize, Indian corn, beetroot can be used for producing ethanol. The participation of farmers plays an important role in this regard. Ethanol can be manufactured from residual molasses after manufacturing sugar from sugarcane, from agricultural wastes, maize and other substances with more fibre content. Apart from these, the oil seeds like Castor, Hemp that can be grown in rain dependent agricultural areas can also be used in the manufacture of biofuel.
Agriculture is the source of raw materials required for biofuel production. Therefore, the participation of farmers is very important. Farmers can grow these trees in the hedges of their farms, backyards, barren lands. By this, the crops will receive shadow, green leafy manure will be available and the oilcake obtained after oil extraction can be used for increasing the soil fertility of their lands and this also proves helpful in protecting the natural balance. The farmers can obtain more income through this. They can also get more income by extracting oil during their free time and it is also a source of employment. Small, very small farmers can grow some plants in the hedges of their farms, around the fences and in their backyards. Big farmers can grow these as mixed orchard in a part of their land. Biofuel trees can be grown as mixed orchard in barren, ravine and non-agricultural lands.
By such action plans, each farmer can obtain an additional income ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.2000 per month (Will be available for 6-8 months from 1-10 acres of land). Each family can obtain employment for 15 to 30 days through this programme.
Manure is one of the main ingredients required by farmers for agricultural development. At present, the soil quality is getting reduced by the increased use of chemical fertilizers and it is becoming more saline. If this continues, the soil quality will get completely spoilt and the land may become barren and unusable for agriculture. Therefore, farmers should show more interest towards organic agriculture. The farmers engaging in biofuel cultivation will mainly get organic manure required for agriculture. Organic manure can be obtained freely along with biofuel cultivation without having to avail loans for buying chemical fertilizer and depend on it. For 1Kg of oil produced, the farmer will obtain 2 Kgs of organic manure. This will lead to the saving of the money to be paid for chemical fertilizer and the soil fertility obtained through generations can be obtained by using organic manure.
Benefits of implementing the Biofuel Scheme
- Direct financial benefit to the farmers by sale of oil seeds.
- Additional income for farmers by usage of cottage-level oil-production unit – selling quality oil and increase in the fertility of soil by using oilcakes.
- Creation of employment opportunities for people at the rural level.
- Electricity production at rural level is possible.
- Creating a stable environment by increase in the forest area.
- In villages, biofuel can be used in tractors, water pump sets, generators.
- Plays an important role in the protection of soil and water.
- Reduction in air pollution, environmental pollution and atmospheric temperature.
- Reduction in petrol usage and significant savings of foreign exchange required for importing petrol.
- By growing biofuel trees, soil erosion can be prevented and the moisture of the soil can be protected and the greenery can be maintained.