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Abstract

This paper analyses to what extent Chinese smallholders are included and benefit from converting their land to organic vegetable production supplying chains under two different property rights regimes destined for either export or domestic sales. Two case areas were chosen for investigation: 1) the Shanghai metropolis where organic vegetable production goes solely for domestic consumption an 2) the rural area around Taian city in the province of Shandong where the organic vegetable production is destined for export only. In the Shanghai metropolis small holders are not included at all in the organic vegetable production. Due to better off-farm employment the local county has instead mediated a land transfer of their property right and land use to organic farm enterprises, giving new jobs to migrant workers and local women. In the Shandong case the village cooperative act as a contractor between an organic processing industry and the many smallholders in the village. The small holders are in this way included with the organic vegetable chain and connected to growing global organic market. Both examples illustrates how the Chinese political system on the one hand tries to manage the need for rural migration, and the other hand tries to secure a better livelihood for those whom migration is not an option.

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