Sirona started fighting poverty with energy through a jatrohpa-based biofuel program. Since 2009 we have been working with small farmer cooperatives starting nurseries to plant Jatropha shrubs. The seeds from Jatropha plants are 40% oil that is so low in glycerine it can be filtered and used in a diesel engine. The planting program has been hugely successful with over 1,000 farmers enrolled and over 300,000 trees planted to date.
To close the loop we need to begin processing the oil and selling it, thereby creating the revenue stream to support future seed purchases from the farmers, etc. etc. We will also be producing an alternative charcoal briquette from the residue left after seed pressing. Funding for planting 120,000 trees and completion of the pressing-to-market loop was provided by Aid Still Required, a nonprofit that has been working in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010. We are partnering with Haiti Communitere for support on briquette production and a location for oil production and training of our press Operator. Our farmers are ready to go and we are in discussions relating to in-country oil sales. Sirona is already ranked as one of the largest producers of jatropha seed, so getting the oil from the seeds to the market is the natural next step. We are very grateful for the support from Aid Still Required and Haiti Communitaire, and we are very excited as we look into 2014 and see a program that is completely economically self-sustaining that has positive economic and enviornmental impacts for rural Haiti.