All things considered, Jatropha may be the best source of oil for biodiesel. Oil palm may have higher production per hectare but the huge area that is available for Jatropha puts Jatropha in the lead for overall potential. Oil is starting to come to market from huge plantings over the last few years.
Jatropha can be grown in a much wider range of climates than oil palm. Virtually the entire continent of Africa has the potential to grow jatropha — representing a huge source of rural income for many poverty-stricken countries around the world (click on the map below for a larger copy).
As the August 2008 issue of Crops, Soils & Agronomy News (paid subscription) points out, jatropha requires almost no care and very little water. It is inedible to animals so does not require precautions such as fencing. Also, for better or worse, it is currently unharvestable by machine and so has the potential to create long-term jobs in the agriculture sector.