Sakshi Abrol

Research themes
  • Development Politics
Research countries
  • India
Research projects

Advancing the livelihood opportunities of forest-dependent communities        in India through inclusive markets and trade

India is home to a plethora of Adivasi communities who mostly inhabit areas in close proximity to the forests. Back in 2011, it was estimated that about 100 million Adivasis depend on forests for their livelihoods. Their relationship with forests, however, transcends mere economic dependence. A myriad of cultural practices and traditions of Adivasi communities revolve around these forests and they harbour a rich repertoire of traditional ecological knowledge on sustainable forest management. Despite inhabiting resource-rich areas, however, they remain one of the most marginalized and impoverished groups in India.

The expanding markets for forest goods both in India and worldwide could help advance the livelihood opportunities of forest-dependent Adivasi communities (or FDCs) but despite the emphasis on the idea of 'marketing oneself out of poverty', it remains elusive in reality. FDCs are often seen to be engaging in hierarchical domestic markets that either exclude them altogether or offer them adverse terms of engagement. There seems to, thus, be a lack of inclusive value chains for FDCs in India. Further, India has not been able to utilize international value chains for forest goods to promote the livelihood of these communities. Ergo, the proposed research seeks to investigate how the (domestic) market- linkage of and (international) trade in forest goods can be promoted to advance the livelihoods of FDCs in the case of Gond tribes in the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra belt of India.

Through a mixed-methods case study approach, the study aims to: 

a. shed light on the drivers of and barriers to promoting the livelihood opportunities of FDCs through domestic markets and international trade 

b. assess if technological solutions can be leveraged to remove some of the barriers identified, and,

c. understand the impact of sustainable and fairtrade certification in international trade on the livelihoods of these communities.

The study will use several techniques of data collection including interviews and participatory methods (like participant observation, seasonal calendar mapping, participatory value chain mapping) to generate thick and nuanced descriptions of a complex phenomenon along with quantitative data on specific variables. Through this, the study seeks to contribute to the literature on inclusive value chain for FDCs. Additionally, the research would try to understand how the idea of 'marketing oneself out of poverty' can be realized in practice for the forest-dependent Adivasi communities in India.

Additional information
Funding institutions

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e.V. (DAAD)

Thesis title

Situating the tribal, forests and livelihood connection within the policy framework in India with a special focus on Pradhan Mantri-Van Dhan Yojana

Doctoral research funded by

DAAD Doctoral Scholarship under Right Livelihood College

Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Jörg Blasius

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Till Stellmacher


Dr. Surender Singh, Sakshi Abrol.  2023.  Many gaps in the PLI scheme.  Further Information
Ravi Pokharna, Sakshi Abrol.  2023.  Social security to gig workers.  Further Information
Ravi Pokharna, Sakshi Abrol.  2023.  5G will create a new urban India.  Further Information


Sakshi Abrol.  2022.  Back An EU green-cover policy that looks like a trade shield.  Further Information
Sakshi Abrol.  2022.  ONDC is the disruption Indian commerce needs.  Further Information


Sakshi Abrol.  2021.  The Transforming Policy Landscape under the Modi Government.  Indian Journal of Democratic Governance, Volume II, Issue II   . (Open Access)   Further Information


Sakshi Abrol.  2019.  Progress Towards a Greater Networked Economy.  Further Information

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Resume_Sakshi_1122.pdf [PDF | 311.09KB]

Sakshi Abrol

Junior Researcher

Private website:

Cultural and Political Change


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