Sustainable livelihoods and cultivation of Jatropha curcas for biodiesel in India: reflections on alternative agronomic models

Policy interest in biofuels in India has grown dramatically during the last few years, with substantial government planting targets for Jatropha curcas in particular. This working paper discusses the sustainable livelihoods aspects of alternative Jatropha cultivation systems identified during fieldwork in three Indian states in 2009, based on site visits and senior manager interviews in three Indian states.

The main cultivation systems found were: (a) cultivation by private fuel companies on leased (‘captive’) land; (b) cultivation by organised communities and by self-help groups on communal land; and (c) contract farming in which private companies in the fuel supply business contract farmers to cultivate Jatropha on the farmers’ own land. We discuss these alternatives in relation to sustainable livelihoods concepts, contrast managers’ views with other, much more critical research findings and highlight issues for further work.

Upham, P., V. Kuttapan, and J. Tomei

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