Agribusiness companies operating in China are transacting in various forms with small agricultural producers, and in doing so, transforming the household-based agriculture in rural China. We argue that the presence of these distinct forms and the diverging relations between agribusiness and producers show the central importance of China’s collective land rights. China’s unique system of land rights – featuring collective ownership but individualized usage rights – has acted as a powerful force in shaping interactions between agribusiness and direct producers. It provides farmers a source of economic income as well as political bargaining power – albeit to various degrees – and restricts corporate actors from dispossessing farmers of their land. Because agribusinesses are able to work with small-scale producers in order to produce the high-scale production they need, we argue that Chinese leaders do not need to scale up land holdings in order to modernize agriculture. If China continues to provide land-use rights, China’s smallscale producers can benefit from this modernization in unanticipated ways.
rural reform, agriculture, China
Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agriculture | Asian Studies
Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal
National Sun Yat-sen University
DONALDSON, John A., & ZHANG, Qian Forres.(2015). Rural China in transition: Changes and transformations in China’s agriculture and rural sector. Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal, 1(1), 51-74.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2218
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.