Global production networks and medicinal plants: Upstream actor dynamics in Nepal

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Knowledge of spatial and temporal actor dynamics in global production networks (GPNs) based on renewable natural resources remains rudimentary. This article contributes to reducing this knowledge gap by showing how upstream actors shape the territorial embeddedness and value dynamics (creation, enhancement, and capture of value) of GPNs. Empirically, we present a fine-grained analysis of the upstream section of the global production network for commercial medicinal plants harvested in and traded from Nepal. In particular, the paper investigates the within-group and between-group dynamics of key actors (traders and wholesalers). Empirical data was generated through 257 quantitative and 121 qualitative interviews with harvesters, sub-local traders, local traders, central wholesalers and regional wholesalers, supplemented with focus-group discussions. Analysis focuses on three key areas of interaction: infrastructural and ecological variations; territorial embeddedness and development; and institutional power and network reconfiguration. The findings help to understand the role of upstream actors in reconfiguring GPNs and enhancing the explanatory power of the GPN approach by adding organizational supply-side insights, thereby facilitating identification of pro-poor interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeographical Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. The Geographical Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

    Research areas

  • environmental products, illegal trade, local trading systems, mixed methods, regional cross-border trade

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