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The term translated literally as ‘agro-industrialisation’ is used both frequently and loosely by Chinese officials and academics to refer to a range of targets including agricultural integration and commercialisation. Support for the agro-industrialisation process has shifted agricultural policy to the extent that it now heralds the third wave of reform of the Chinese rural economy since 1978. This paper draws on a literature review of Chinese material and on extensive fieldwork material to discuss: a) what is meant by agro-industrialisation; b) how agroindustrialisation measures are organised and implemented; c) how this reflects the characteristics of Chinese agricultural and political-economy systems, and; d) the role of and implications for various actors (government, enterprises, rural households and co-operatives in particular). Discussion places particular emphasis on the Chinese cattle and beef industry.


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