Role of Jojoba Plant in combating Desertification
In India, the Jojoba plant has also been used to combat and prevent desertification in the Thar Desert and has proved to be quite successful. The Jojoba Plant (Simmondsia chinensis) is native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of Arizona, California, and Mexico. Jojoba is grown commercially for its oil, a liquid wax ester, expressed from the seed. Jojoba oil is similar to human sebum and whale oil than to traditional vegetable oils. It is of commercial importance.
Thus, Jojoba serves the dual purpose of fighting desertification as well as playing role as a crop of Industrial Importance.
The shrub can live up to 150 years and can attain a height of about 3-5 meters; it can tolerate high and low temperatures.
The commercial production of Jojoba require only about 450-650mm annual rainfall.
The oil makes up approximately 50% of jojoba seed by weight. Jojoba oil is a mixture of wax esters which have 36 to 46 carbon atoms in length. Jojoba Oil Consists of Wax esters and the wax esters are made up of fatty acid and a fatty alcohol. It is used majorly in personal care products, in moisturizers, face creams, shampoos, hair oil, lipstick, conditioners, anti-aging and sun care products. It can also be used in lubricants or additive to other lubricant, it is also considered as good substitute for sperm whale oil. It can also be used in preparation of other chemicals and in pharmaceuticals applications.
The worldwide production of jojoba seeds is approximately 5800 tons and jojoba oil is 2700 tons.
Argentina accounts for nearly 50% of all the seeds produced.
North America is the leading region as a consumer for Jojoba oil applications in the cosmetics followed by Europe
How it is beneficial to India?
The cost of production of Jojoba oil in India is almost one fifth times than that of other countries. Presently of all the oil that is produced in India 99 % is consumed in domestic market. The market has not reached maturity level in India, also has got huge potentials for exports.
600-700 hectares of land is under jojoba cultivation in all over India. Out of it 85-90 % is in Rajasthan, approx 100 hectares in Gujarat & 50 hectares in Maharashtra. Rajasthan is perfectly suitable as the climatic conditions favor the cultivation. There is also good potential for jojoba cultivation in Punjab, Haryana Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
In 1995, Government of India has set up an association of Rajasthan Jojoba Plantation and Research Project (AJORP) with 100% funding from the Department of Land Resources, under Ministry of Rural Development. As technical know-how was limited in the beginning, an MOU was signed between AJORP and HAIGUD Israel to facilitated transfer of technology in promoting jojoba plantation. This included import of a green house which was commissioned in the year 1997.