FNI Report 5/2010. Lysaker, FNI, 2010, 91 p. In Norwegian.
This report is based on a case study on the Indian state Chhattisgarh’s ambitious biofuel programme. Jatropha curcas is promoted as a development opportunity for the landless poor. Its proponents argue that planting of jatropha can contribute to national and local energy security, generate employment, and be a new source of livelihood, without being a threat to food security. This report explores how the planting in fact affects poor people’s access to land, by looking at the change in the existing resource regimes in the affected areas. The jatropha programme has brought limited benefits to some, mostly through wage labour. It also reveals that the common land that has been identified as available for planting is a vital part of the livelihood for millions of rural poor in India. A key conclusion is that the more marginalized the household is, the more dependent it is on the income from the common property resources. When the state plant jatropha on the common land, the definition of the land changes, and access gets restricted. When subsistence farmers and other rural poor lose access to this common land, their safety net is taken away.