Some key factoids on castor crop production in Brazil:
- The castor-oil plant is an ideal crop for the extensive semi-arid region of northeast Brazil. It holds some four million hectares of appropriate land that could yield up to 6 million tons of seeds per year.
- Brazil was a global leader in castor cultivation decades back. But there has been a significant reduction in castor cultivation in Brazil for some time. Now Brazil and China have started to show signs of expanding their production base. But the increases have not been significant enough.
- Brazil has a National Biodiesel Strategy which proposes castor as one of the feedstocks for biodiesel production. Planting of castor is also being promoted especially in the north east.
- Israel’s Evogene, which specializes in genetic modification of plants for industrial purposes, has signed a deal with Brazil’s Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) in Oct 2014 to develop technologies for the advancement of castor cultivation in Brazil.
- The cooperation will focus primarily on technologies for controlling castor-specific diseases as well as practices for castor cultivation in rotation with soybeans.