KARACHI - The Forest Department, in collaboration with Pakistan Army, has successfully cultivated Jatropha plants used to obtain biodiesel fuel in various developing countries, sources revealed to The Nation on Monday. Jatropha is cultivated in Mexico and Brazil and its oil is used produce bio-diesel to combat the increasing prices of petroleum. The forest department initiated the cultivation on experimental basis four months ago in Malir Cantt. The seeds of Jatropha plants were given by Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to forest department of CDGK, sources said. The importance of Jatropha plant increased during 2007-08 when high prices of petroleum were increased manifold and developing countries started its cultivation to maintain the pace of their economic progress. Its cultivation is successful in arid areas and Sindh province is an ideal place for this purpose. The idea of cultivating Jatropha in Karachi was conceived by the DO Forests, who had approached PSO to get seeds of the plant, sources said. Four months ago, the seeds of Jatropha were sowed on the land of Malir Cantt, and now around 3,000 plants making fast growth. Sources added that due to the success of Jatropha plants on experimental basis, its fame spread among the farmers community. The agriculturalists are interested to start its cultivation in their areas and many among them have approached forest department to get seeds of the plant and other details. At present, the forest department has more than 10,000 saplings of Jatropha at its nurseries, which would be provided to the farmers and planted in other parts of the province. The sources said that credit of achievement goes to the forest department and Pakistan Army, who took a bold decision at the right time without spending any funds. Corps Commander Karachi has also visited the cultivated land in Malir Cantt and appreciated successful cultivation of Jatropha plant on Pakistani soil. Currently the oil from Jatropha curcas seeds is used as bio-diesel in Philippines and Brazil, where it grows naturally. Likewise, Jatropha oil is being promoted as an easily grown bio-fuel crop in hundreds of projects in India and other developing countries, sources said. Jatropha oil is significantly cheaper than crude oil.