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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:The politics of Jatropha-based biofuels in Kenya: Convergence and divergence among NGOs, donors, government officials and farmers
Author:Hunsberger, C.
Periodical:Journal of Peasant Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Political Science & Government
Agriculture - extension
Abstract:This study explores the spread of Jatropha in Kenya and some implications of its trajectory. Proponents of biodiesel in Kenya have adopted a near-singular focus on Jatropha but attach it to a wide variety of goals, including climate change mitigation, poverty reduction, and clean development. The priorities of actors who promote the crop often differ from those of smallholder farmers who grow it. The persistence of multiple discourses of development linked to Jatropha creates tensions between competing perspectives, manifested through allegations of exclusion and shady business, but it also allows actors to deploy strategic flexibility by invoking Jatropha to pursue different ends. A case study of an internationally funded project in Mpeketoni, Coast Province highlights disconnects between the initial objectives of donors, coordinators, and farmers and explores the project's potential to produce outcomes that are satisfactory to all three. The paper contributes to wider debates about biofuels and discourses of development: Jatropha shares many features with past agricultural development interventions, but as a biofuel it exhibits additional layers of contested meaning because of the politics of energy and the environment that are involved. (Journal Abstract)