Trading in the dark – The medicinal plants production network in Uttarakhand

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Medicinal plant cultivation and gathering can play a vital role in the course of livelihood diversification for the marginalized population living in remote areas. However, this requires an integration of the respective production networks that allows the producers a fair and reliable income and does not endanger rare plant species. This paper analyses the situation within the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and identifies structures and entities hindering medical plant cultivation and its potentials. Based on the broad network understanding of the Global Production Network approach, the case study focuses on the middlemen and their hidden embeddedness. It shows how governmental organizations and in particular non-governmental organizations and farmers' institutions can help to overcome clandestine structures of illegal trade and contribute towards a redesign of the medicinal plant network in a more equitable and transparent way.