Associated with the Rajasthan government and presently managing two districts under World Bank funded Rajasthan Agriculture Competitiveness Project ( RACP), Shekhawat has worked hard to propagate jatropha plantations in water-starved wastelands for the supply of biodiesel. His other efforts include contributions in micro-irrigation for bio-fuel plantations in arid areas.Shekhwat has given new dimensions to agriculture as a whole. Earlier as Chief Executive Officer of Rajasthan Olive Cultivation Limited (ROCL), he had set a target to plant olive trees in 5,000 hectares of land in four districts of Rajasthan in the next three years, starting from 2012. Even while the task was tough because of farmers’ reluctance to such new innovations, he succeeded in convincing them. Now at olive nursery over 3-5 lakh saplings are ready to be distributed. “Now winter has set in and distribution will only start from February next year. So far we have covered only 125 hectares but it will pick up from next year.
I hope the target would be achieved,” he said.ROCL is a company set up in partnership between the Rajasthan government, Pune-based Pinolex Plasson and Indolive Ltd of Israel. He said that the produce has the potential to turnaround the economy of the water-deficient state. He also said that olives hold tremendous economic prospects for farmers, as they could yield a profit of Rs 3.5 lakh per hectare. Olive fruit has become a boon for the desert state.”Besides being a source of edible oil, olives have utility in the manufacture of cosmetic items for babies and also in salad dressing. One oil mill has also been set up at Lunkaransar in Bikaner district,” Shekhawat said.