Modernising Traditional Agriculture in China through the Development of Higher Value Agrifood Chains: the case of the beef industry

Waldron, Scott (2008). Modernising Traditional Agriculture in China through the Development of Higher Value Agrifood Chains: the case of the beef industry PhD Thesis, School of Integrative Systems, The University of Queensland.

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Author Waldron, Scott
Thesis Title Modernising Traditional Agriculture in China through the Development of Higher Value Agrifood Chains: the case of the beef industry
School, Centre or Institute School of Integrative Systems
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008-10
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Colin Brown
Prof John Longworth
Total pages 210
Total black and white pages 210
Subjects 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
Abstract/Summary China faces enormous challenges in generating sustained and inclusive agricultural and rural development. However the rapid growth occurring both inside and outside the agricultural sector provides new opportunities to meet the challenges. The development of higher value agrifood chains may provide opportunities for rural households to increase their levels of specialisation, scale and incomes, and for rural areas to broaden their employment and tax revenues bases. Facilitation of these developments effectively forms an agricultural modernisation strategy that is becoming increasingly described and prescribed by Chinese policy makers, researchers and development agencies. Despite the attention that has been given to this agricultural modernisation strategy, it has not proceeded without problems in China and has been subject to little rigorous scrutiny. This thesis uses a detailed industry case study approach to examine the way that Chinese agriculture is modernising and, as an applied study, to identify areas where China’s agricultural modernisation strategy can be refined. China’s agricultural modernisation strategy is analysed through the window of a particular Chinese agricultural and rural industry, namely the beef industry. The beef industry resembles many other agricultural and livestock industries that are commercialising, modernising and segmenting with important implications for food safety, the environment and rural incomes. In addition to providing insights into developments in the broader agricultural and livestock sectors, the Chinese beef industry is also worth examining in its own right because of its significant place in the world beef industry and in China’s livestock sector, and because it is used as a “pillar industry” in the development of many poor areas. While the thesis focuses predominantly on the beef industry, differences and similarities with other livestock industries are noted throughout the analysis. The use of an industry case study allows for a detailed analysis of a cross section of China’s markets, agribusiness and production sectors, and the integration of the sectors that form the industry. One novel aspect of the thesis is that the industry modernisation process is seen as a movement from low to high value agrifood chains in all of these sectors and for the industry as a whole. The thesis examines the drivers of and constraints to the movement from low to high value agrifood chains, the sustainability of the development of the higher value agrifood chains, and the implications for industry participants. The study draws on multiple forms of data, including extensive interview and fieldwork data over a ten year period across China, budget and scenario analyses; and macro-level data and policy documents. The cross-verification of this data allows for a rigorous, multi-disciplinary and “grounded” form of analysis that can complement other studies which draw on fewer sources of data. The thesis also provides a longitudinal and diachronic perspective of the agricultural modernisation process in contrast to a shorter term snapshot. The thesis examines the reasons and the measures by which China is attempting to move the agricultural sector beyond its primary reliance on traditional, low value agrifood chains. While the logic of these reasons and measures can be discerned, it is argued that China has attempted to “skip” development stages by over emphasising the development of large scale modern high value agrifood chains. The attempt to force the pace of modernisation has led to significant distortions and detrimental impacts. The thesis argues the need for China to refine its agricultural modernisation development strategy to be both more market conforming and to bring more benefits to industry participants in rural areas. This is best done by taking a more incremental approach to agricultural modernisation with an increased emphasis on mid value agrifood chains and the development of market facilitating policies. The analysis, findings and recommendations of the thesis may be of interest to policy makers, development agencies and researchers working on China’s agricultural and livestock sectors.
Keyword China, agriculture, rural development, agribusiness, livestock, cattle, beef
Additional Notes Page 103 is landscape

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Created: Mon, 06 Jul 2009, 20:07:17 EST by Mr Scott Waldron on behalf of Library - Information Access Service