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Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1102; doi:10.3390/su8111102

Sustaining Upgrading in Agricultural Value Chains? State-Led Value Chain Interventions and Emerging Bifurcation of the South Indian Smallholder Tea Sector

Department of Geosciences and Nature Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Academic Editor: Hossein Azadi
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [249 KB, uploaded 28 October 2016]

Abstract

The Global Value Chain (GVC) approach has emerged as a novel methodological device for analysing economic globalization and international trade. The suitability of the chain metaphor and strategies for moving up the ladder of GVCs (“upgrade”) is widely echoed in international development agencies and public agencies in the Global South. Most of the existing GVC studies focus on new forms of firm-to-firm relationships and the role of lead firms and chain governance in defining upgrading opportunities. This paper examines the role of the state and local institutional initiatives in promoting upgrading in agricultural GVCs originating in rural areas of the Global South. The paper draws on research conducted in the South Indian smallholder tea sector. The paper argues that successful forms of state-led chain interventions not only contribute to upgrading of the smallholder-brought leaf factory strand of the GVC originating in the South Indian tea sector, but might also result in increasing bifurcation of smallholders integrated into high-margin markets through prominent bought leaf factories and a mass of “others” outside this tightly coordinated strand of the tea value chain. View Full-Text
Keywords: global value chains; state-led interventions; upgrading; bifurcation; inclusive development strategies; smallholder tea; horizontal and vertical coordination; South India global value chains; state-led interventions; upgrading; bifurcation; inclusive development strategies; smallholder tea; horizontal and vertical coordination; South India
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Larsen, M.N. Sustaining Upgrading in Agricultural Value Chains? State-Led Value Chain Interventions and Emerging Bifurcation of the South Indian Smallholder Tea Sector. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1102.

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