Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bio fuel for small farmers

From Using bio fuel to run an irrigation pump for five acres:
"While the farmer says that he was able to turn the land fertile only through organic practices, he is well known in the region for propagating the usefulness of punnai seeds.
“If a farmer has two punnai trees on his land, he can reduce the diesel cost considerably. I run the motor for about five months using the oil during summer,” he says.
The tree grows well in coastal regions. Cattle or goats do not eat the leaves thus making it easier for a farmer to grow it.
Capable of growing in any type of soil it can withstand heavy winds and produce seeds within five years after planting.
“A farmer can get four to 20 kg of seeds a year from a five year old tree. After 10 years, a tree will yield 10 - 60 kg in a year and the seed yield will be on the increase as the trees grow older. From my experience, a 25 year-old tree yields a minimum of 300 kg and a maximum of 500 kg of seeds,” says Mr. Rajasekaran.
The trees attract lot of honey bees and bats. While the bees help to pollinate the bats eat the fruits and the seeds scatter all over the area through their droppings.

“My daily job in the morning is to collect the seeds and dry them for a week, after which they are broken open to expose the kernel. The kernel is further dried for 10 days before oil extraction,” he adds.
From one kg of seed kernel about 750 to 800 ml of oil can be extracted and the cost of producing a litre of oil works out to Rs.10.
“I operate the pump only during summer, for about five months in a year to be precise and for that my requirement is 600 ml of oil for an hour every day. Previously while using diesel my requirement was 900 ml for the same duration of time.
In a year I am able to get 75 litres. The surplus oil is sold to other farmers at Rs. 42 a litre. After extracting the oil, the cake is used as manure for crops,” he explains."
More about the tree  Calophyllum inophyllum and its regional names in the wikipedia 

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