(Amazing that people can talk themselves into importing plants from other continents and assume that they may do no harm and only good.)
Also, while some crops are water intensive (and Egypt doesn’t have much H20 to share), the Jatropha tree is said to be a low maintenance species that requires very little water to thrive.
The wood is strong and can be used for building projects, and essential oils can be used to make candles, soap and glycerine.
“The tree can be planted twice a year, at the beginning of spring and autumn,” Khaireddine explained to Al-Shorfa in a recent interview.
Plus “… it can be planted densely in desert areas, with one tree per every two metres, and it does not require any sort of pesticide or organic and mineral fertilizers, especially if irrigated by treated wastewater.”
She adds that a forest of Jatropha trees could stave off desertification by acting as a wall that prevents wind from sweeping away the desert sands.
Through her land reclamation company Al-Wadad, Khaireddine has raised some money from private sources in order to develop a pilot project that will prove to potential investors and the Egyptian government that Jatropha is a viable solution for Egypt’s energy and pollution crisis.
It can also provide a host of jobs in a country that has at least a 13 percent unemployment rate (though we suspect those numbers are a lot higher.)
But she is still looking for land, which she hopes to acquire under the government’s land reclamation scheme.