September 3, 2007 (Biofuel Review) Mission Biofuels (India) Pvt Ltd, has signed an agreement with an Indian district controlled entity granting it exclusive, long-term access to Jatropha Curcas seeds from already planted lands as well as access to additional land in the district that is to be planted over the next three years. The district authority has formed, and will manage, a producer company which is owned by the farmers and Jatropha growers in the district.It has, from funding received from the state and central governments, planted over 25,000 acres of Jatropha Curcas during the last three years. The district authority will continue to plant more Jatropha Curcas under these programs, with an estimated 12,500 acres in the current planting season. The district has now transferred all planted and to be planted Jatropha Curcas to this new producer company.
Under the agreement, the first-of-its-kind in India, MBIPL has agreed with the producer company to:
• provide technical inputs and know-how to the Jatropha Curcas farmers;
• establish nurseries; and
• provide a primary processing center in the district to augment the efforts of the producer company.
The deal will enable MBIPL to gain exclusive access to all Jatropha Curcas seeds harvested in the district and will favorably impact the price MBIPL will pay for the Jatropha Curcas seeds purchased from the producer company.
Mr. Ashish Swarup, CEO of MBIPL, said “This win-win partnership provides an excellent example of how a forward thinking government authority can help to provide: sustainable benefits to people living in poverty; long term value accrual to the farmers as owners of the producer company; achievement of economies of scale; and benefits from the research and technical and commercial inputs from an integrated biofuels player. More districts should follow this example”.
MBIPL has been in active discussions with some other districts for similar arrangements and is confident that this first success with a win-win agreement will help it finalize arrangements with some more districts in the region providing it immediate and long term access to large scale Jatropha Curcas seeds. With the signing of this agreement, MBIPL says it is well on track to achieve its 100,000 acres of planted Jatropha Curcas target for 2007.