Partnership to advance castor cultivation in Brazil
Agricultural research institute The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and Evofuel, the wholly owned subsidiary of plant genomics company Evogene, which specialises in enhancing crop productivity for the biofuels industry, have signed a joint research agreement to advance castor cultivation in Brazil.
The cooperation will primarily focus on technologies for controlling castor-specific diseases as well as practices for castor cultivation in rotation with soyabean.
The agreement will combine Embrapa's R&D experience with Evofuel's proprietary castor varieties, which are adapted to mechanised harvest and modern agricultural protocols, to offer Brazilian growers a full-scale solution for an economically viable, sustainable, and large-scale cultivation of castor.
Cultivation of castor in rotation with soyabean consists of planting Evofuel's advanced castor varieties after harvesting the soyabean crop. The target area for this rotation system is in the MaToPiBa region (Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí, and Bahia states) in the northeast and central regions of Brazil, where approximately 5 million hectares are estimated to be suitable for castor cultivation.
The collaboration with Embrapa follows three years of field trials of Evofuel's castor varieties in Brazil. The trials demonstrated the suitability and economic benefits of growing Evofuel's proprietary castor varieties as a second crop with soyabean for production of oil feedstock for biofuels and other industrial uses.