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Interest groups, power relations, and the configuration of value chains: The case of biodiesel in India


  • Altenburg, Tilman


Production of biodiesel is technologically simple, and the process of value addition – from the cultivation of oilseeds to oil extraction and transesterification – is straightforward. There is, however, great variation in the socioeconomic configuration of this value chain. In some regions of India, the cultivation of tree-borne oilseeds is organised in a social forestry mode, in which poor landless people are paid to perform reforestation tasks and receive usufruct rights to collect oilseeds; in other regions, peasant cooperatives, subcontracting arrangements between farmers and transnational corporations, or large-scale plantations are promoted. There are also many different end uses and ways of processing biodiesel, from village-level projects for rural off-grid electrification to large scale processing. This article explains how five Indian states have developed biodiesel policies that reflect different political goals and favour different constituencies, reflecting the states’ specific socioeconomic structures, power relations norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Altenburg, Tilman, 2011. "Interest groups, power relations, and the configuration of value chains: The case of biodiesel in India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 742-748.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:6:p:742-748
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2011.07.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tewari, D.D., 2006. "The effectiveness of state forest development corporations in India: an institutional analysis," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 279-300, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Negash, Martha & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2013. "Biofuels and food security: Micro-evidence from Ethiopia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 963-976.
    2. Negash, Martha & Riera, Olivia, 2014. "Biodiesel value chain and access to energy in Ethiopia: Policies and business prospects," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 975-985.


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