More than Floods and Droughts: Understanding Emergent Water Risks in South African Fruit Production Networks

Nora Lanari, David Bek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Water is indispensable to agricultural production and trade. Using a global production network (GPN) framework, this article explores the variegated ways water risks manifest in agricultural value chains. Moving beyond extreme events, such as floods and droughts, we explore how the emergence and convergence of political, economic and ecological perspectives during the past 25 years has led to more nuanced understandings of water risks. By doing so, we contribute to ongoing efforts to move the environmental dimension more centrally into GPN literature, emphasising how globalised production and trade enmesh with environmental governance regimes. Our argument draws on empirical evidence from the South African fruit industry, which illustrates how water risks have a physical, reputational and regulatory/political dimension. These water risks are actor and context specific, manifest relationally to each other, and largely originate beyond the individual farm gate. They are often underlying and ongoing rather than one-off extreme events. These insights develop our understanding of how environmental risks are manifested and managed in GPNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-609
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date23 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Funding Information: Nora Lanari would like to acknowledge Coventry University for providing a PhD studentship which enabled this research to be undertaken. She would also like to acknowledge Swiss National Science Foundation's Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship, during which this article was written. David Bek would like to acknowledge a UKRI QR Strategic Priorities Fund grant provided via Coventry University which supported research underpinning this paper.


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