Accepted Paper:

Global decisions and local realities: the politics and policies of upgrading and their implications in agricultural global production networks  


Judith Krauss (University of Sheffield)
Aarti Krishnan (University of Manchester)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper argues that global and particularly Northern policy and politics shaping certification choices affect the local realities of Southern producers, drawing on two-case studies in agricultural global production networks involving fresh fruit and vegetables in Kenya and cocoa in Nicaragua.

Paper long abstract:

As certification is proving ever more popular as a particular manifestation of economic, social and environmental upgrading, this paper seeks to explore the processes of policy and politics which shape stakeholder certification choices in global production networks, and the implications which this interconnectedness entails for farmers' realities. The paper introduces two case-studies, the production of fresh fruit and vegetables in Kenya and the cocoa sector in Nicaragua. The case-studies underscore how the complex connections between the different dimensions of the economic, social and environmental aspects of private voluntary standards, as well as the politics surrounding standards' uptake, will impact local outcomes for farmers. In the case of cocoa, both public-policy concerns regarding food safety and political momentum supporting government-led cocoa sustainability initiatives influence private-sector choices regarding certification. For the case of fresh fruit and vegetables, the combination of environmental, social and economic certification requirements including public food safety concerns is an outcome of private and public-sector policies: they shape farmers' realities and their ability to participate in global production networks. The paper argues that the intricate dynamics of policy and politics shaping certification choices by public-sector, private-sector and civil-society stakeholders in the global North have implications for Southern farmers' local realities, emphasising the need for careful consideration if local outcomes are to be improved.

Panel P61
Global production networks and the politics and policies of development