Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

7-2017

Abstract

Since the 1990s, agricultural cooperatives—particularly what China calls Farmers’ Specialized Cooperatives—have experienced rapid expansion in China. After more than two decades of growth and policy support, what is the overall performance of the ever-increasing numbers of these cooperatives? We visited 50 cooperatives across the country, most of which had officially been lauded as successful, to make a first-hand evaluation of their overall status and performance. We argue that, judging by either international or Chinese standards, the vast majority of these agricultural cooperatives are not authentic and fail to deliver expected benefits to smallholders. We categorize them into five types: genuine cooperatives, shell cooperatives, de facto private agribusinesses, decooperativized cooperatives, and failed cooperatives. Four barriers impede the long-term prospects of authentic cooperatives: social differentiation, lack of trust, unpredictable markets, and poor policy design and implementation.

Discipline

Agribusiness | Asian Studies | Rural Sociology | Sociology of Culture

Research Areas

Sociology; Political Science

Publication

China Journal

Volume

78

First Page

1

Last Page

24

ISSN

1324-9347

Identifier

10.1086/691786

Publisher

Contemporary China Centre, Australia National University

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

https://doi.org/10.1086/691786

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