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Food Production Standards and the Chinese Local State: Exploring New Patterns of Environmental Governance in the Bamboo Shoot Industry in Lin'an

  • Kin Wing (Ray) Chan (a1) and Andrew Flynn (a2)

Abstract

Although current studies into Chinese food supply and quality provide explanations for the causality of food problems, there is limited inquiry into the role of the county government. This is a serious omission for two main reasons: first, because county governments perform a key role in providing support for farmers through agricultural extension services and farmers’ cooperatives, and second, because county-level administrative divisions are central to developing novel instruments to manage supply chain relationships, such as food production standards. We investigate the key players involved in standard making and delivery at the county level. We also analyse how and why the county government engages in standard-setting activities. We use Lin'an's bamboo shoot production industry as a case study to understand how the local state implements “hazard-free,” “green” and “forest food” production standards. The paper concludes that traditional conceptualizations of the local state do not sufficiently address how nature, knowledge of standards and state authority co-produce institutional capacity to control food supply and quality in China. In practice, the local state engages with non-state actors to achieve superficial environmental efforts, such as developing food production standards to throw a “green cloak” over a productivist model.

在探讨中国食品供应和质量的文献中,多有涉及食品安全问题,但是关于县级政府如何管理和控制食品质量安全研究的文献却非常有限。本文指出县政府在食品安全质量中的管治角色是不可或缺的,一方面,县政府通过农业服务推广和农业合作社来引导农民进行粮食生产; 另一方面,县政府将实施食品质量安全生产标准作为新型治理工具来控制食品生产质量。因此,本研究以县级为单位来讨论食品质量安全生产标准的制订和执行者; 同时亦分析了县政府为何以及如何参与食品质量安全生产标准的制订。本研究以临安县竹笋生产行业为例,探讨当地县政府如何实施无公害食品、绿色食品和森林食品的生产方案。结论表明: 传统的国家理论未能充分解释地方政府如何有效利用竹笋资源,食品质量安全标准以及政府权力来构建区域食品供应及质量安全治理体系。本文通过县级政府的区域策略,分析地方政府如何利用当地森林资源,农业合作社和食品质量安全生产标准来合理化临安县绿色外观的发展模式。 这种模式不但通过地方政府与其他持份者的合作来制订食品生产标准,而且也让地方政府将食品生产标准作为“绿色外衣”来合理化以经济为主导的发展模式。

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: k.chan2@exeter.ac.uk (corresponding author).

References

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