Prospects of Jojoba in India
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Subhash Garg
Posted on: December 11, 2006

What is the scope of jojoba in India in future? I planted 7.5 acres of jojoba in 2002. After how many years I take the yield of jojoba from our plants. And what are the rates of jojoba in international market for present and future?

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) attracted a great deal of scientific, commercial and popular interest when the unique properties of its seed oil first became known in the 1970s. A shrub native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of Mexico, Arizona and California, it is promising crop for hot dry areas throughout the world. Half the weight of the plant’s large seeds is made up of liquid wax. The oil is colourless, odourless, and does not turn rancid like other plant oils. The molecules are long straight chains of 36-46 carbons with few side-chains attached, so the oil penetrates the skin readily, which is why it is so prized in cosmetics. The oil also has applications in industry as a lubricant and as a potential source of biodiesel fuel.

Currently, the main market for jojoba oil is the cosmetics industry. The oil is used in a wide variety of hair and skin care products. But the market could be much bigger if a way could be found to mechanically harvest the seeds. Presently, seeds must be harvested by hand, and yields are variable, ranging from 340 to 900 kg per hectare. It takes 4-5 years to get a first crop, but the long life of the crop means that the crop can generate revenue for many years from a single planting.

According to the Association Rajasthan Jojoba Plantation and Research Project (AJORP), the cost of production of jojoba seeds in India is much lower than in other parts of the world, about USD $0.70/kg in India compared to $1.50/kg in Israel and $3/kg in the United States. World demand for jojoba oil was about 40,000 tonnes in 2002, so the prospects seem bright for Indian producers many of whom, like you, are just starting to get seed harvests.

The high cost of extracting the oil from the seeds is another factor that may limit market potential, particularly its use in biofuels. At current costs, the price of jojoba oil ranges between USD $13-32 per kilogram. Much research work is needed to reduce costs if jojoba is ever going to be a serious candidate for biodiesel fuel.

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