To cultivate or not?: examining factors that Influence Jatropha agriculture in North East India

This study examines factors that determine the adoption and continued production of Jatropha in plantations in North East India. The study is based on a sample of 144 current-farmers, 137 previous-farmers, and 145 non-growers of Jatropha in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The findings suggest that farmer characteristics such as their willingness to take risks, whether they have land that is not in use in agriculture, and knowledge of the product play an important role. Institutional factors such as availability of credit, and structural issues related to product and labor markets and travel time and distance are important considerations in whether Jatropha is adopted and plantations are continued. The study shows that, although there are serious bottlenecks to increasing Jatropha production, these problems can be remedied with some important institutional interventions. The study recommends extension of government credit facilities to farmers since the opportunity costs of labor and land, the initial low return, and the approximately 7-year payback period from Jatropha cultivation reduce farmer interest in continuing with Jatropha cultivation.