This paper presents the case for research on institutional environments for organically certified agriculture in developing countries. Observing that some analyses hold Southern organic agriculture as pro-poor and perhaps also more energy efficient than fossil fuel dependent industrialized agriculture, the paper explores differences and similarities in the policy rationale of promoting certified organics in North and South. Based on analysis of institutional environments for COA in Brazil and China, the paper proceed to identify some challenges, opportunities and policy options for strengthening not only certified organic agriculture per se, but an environmentally and socially sustainable food system, providing smallholder livelihoods and rural development.


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