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With progressive depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels, there is urgent need for development of non-edible oil bearing
plant species for energy. One such oil bearing leguminous species viz., Pongamia pinnata can be exploited commercially
for renewable sources of energy. Merits of Pongamia as compared to Jatropha and Oil palm have been proven.
Pongamia becomes a large tree with a 10 meter taproot, with substantial carbon sink fixing more carbon than is used in
production of fuel thereby creating a truly "carbon negative" solution apart from its resistance to drought, light frost, water
logging and salinity. From the third year, Pongamia yields a minimum of 5-8kg/tree leading to an average kernel yield of 80kg
with 30 to 35% oil content in the tenth year and can be managed by unskilled work force.
Considering the impressive array of genetic variability for Pongamia, around 700 elite trees possessing over 100% yield
superiority as compared to normal Pongamia population have been selected and confirmed for their genetic superiority. The elite
trees have been propagated by grafting. The resulting clones have been planted at the M & M World City near Chennai in India
and Djibouti in Africa.
Prasad obtained PhD in Plant breeding from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi in 1969. He worked at IARI, Central Arid Zone Research
Institute, Jodhpur, and Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad. He worked as Director of Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad
from 1991 to 1995. He worked as Visiting Professor and crop improvement specialist of Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture for
EMBRAPA in Brazil and technical advisor of cashew development projects of African Development Bank and World Bank in Africa. Also worked
as leader of team of European Commission (2007) to extend technical assistance to Mozambican Institute of Cashew for elaboration of cashew
development plan. Currently he is Vice President (Agri) and Chief Scientist of VAYUGRID devoted to bio-energy programs. He has over 125
publications and developed superior crop varieties in durum wheat, grain legumes and oilseed crops and guided research on annual oilseeds,
Jatropha and Pongamia
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