Project: Funded Project › Research
1/12/10 → 31/05/13
This ESPA-funded project set out to develop and test methods which could help to narrow the gap between scientific knowledge and traditional knowledge so that the two together can help adapt Zambian small scale farming systems towards a more sustainable management of the environment.
This project focused on efforts to turn a 'wild' plant species into a new agricultural crop, as it provided an excellent opportunity to study the interaction between traditional ecological knowledge and scientific knowledge,
Jatropha Curcas is an under-utilised species and a useful plant already known to farmers, but not as a cash crop. Jatropha is also surrounded by ecological and economic controversy. Following the collapse of the hype around Jatropha as a sustainable biofuel crop, this project explored alternative uses of Jatropha such as soap making. Locally produced Jatropha soap had a positive impact on household expenditure and bridged gaps in soap availability thus providing important health benefits. In addition, through citizen science approaches we also discovered new uses for Jatropha as a biological pesticide.