Food quality problems have frequently been in the news in China leading to growing concerns amongst consumers. Within this context, Geographical Indications (GIs), as an indicator of quality, are becoming increasingly important in the Chinese agrifood market. However, in the face of a number of GI agrifood scandals reported in the last decade, the effectiveness of contemporary Chinese GI schemes in terms of enhancing agrifood quality is becoming questionable. To discover the underlying reasons for this, the paper first provides an overview of Chinese GI schemes and conceptualises ‘agrifood quality’ using ideas drawn from socio-economic theory and network approaches, with a particular focus on the role of power relationships. It then applies the conceptual framework to case studies examining quality forming processes in three GI networks in Jiangxi Province. The research indicates that the development of Chinese GI networks is driven primarily by the government's intention to increase farmers' and rural incomes, and that the GI schemes examined in this study are characterised by low or basic standards, inappropriate GI issuing procedures and weak government quality inspection programmes. Therefore, the overall conclusion is that the quality of Chinese agrifood products may not be enhanced by GI schemes as currently implemented.
Bibliographical noteNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Rural Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal of Rural Studies [vol 36 (October 2014)]. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.06.012.
- Geographical Indications (GIs)
- Chinese GI schemes
- Agrifood quality
- Power relationships
- Network approaches