Jojoba: New Crop for Arid Lands, New Raw Material for Industry
This National Research Council report reviews the current status of the plant, which is now fast progressing from its wild state to commercial production of impressive magnitude. In particular, the intention is to highlight the uncertainties inherent in growing and selling a new farm product. This is not to dampen enthusiasm for a crop that has truly exciting promise, but to point out unresolved questions, so that farmers and investors can appreciate the economic risks and researchers can determine where their knowledge and talents can best be applied.
It is now clear that this wild desert plant can be commercially cultivated. On sites where it is adapted, it will flower, and it will set its seed in plantations. But survival is not enough, the plants must produce yields that can be harvested and sold at a profit. This is where the uncertainty lies.
Even in commerce, however, jojoba has made a promising start. Since 1982, mounting numbers of farmers in Arizona, California, Israel, and northern Mexico have obtained commercial harvests of seed. Moreover, a number of brokers and small companies have sold increasing amounts of jojoba oil harvested from both wild stands and plantations.