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Technological innovation in agricultural co-operatives in China:Implications for agro-food innovation policies

编辑:admin 作者:Jianli Luoa, Hongdong Guob,⁎, Fu Jiac,d,⁎ 时间:2018-01-03 15:52:29 访问次数:298

A B S T R A C T
Technological innovation has become a major source of farmer co-operatives’ competitive advantage, however
empirical research on co-operatives innovation in a developing country context is rare. We adopt an ethnographic
case study method collecting data from 32 co-operatives managers of four exemplar co-operative cases
and agricultural experts in China and collected much archival data. In addition, a Delphi study was conducted to
collect data on the innovation performance. Based on the distinctive characteristics of co-operatives, we found
that first knowledge spillovers and technology acquisition modes are two constructs which best capture the
dynamic of technological innovation in co-operatives and develop a typology based on them. Second, grassroots
and social innovation in a Chinese co-operative context have their own characters and indeed a hybrid of capitalism
(e.g., agribusiness) and New Rural Re-structuring principles (i.e., similar to ICA ones). Third and finally,
we provide detailed agro-food policy implications for each of the four types of co-op innovation. The results of
the research may be learned by co-ops and policy makers in other developing economies who face similar
challenges as in China.
1. Introduction
Technological innovation has been found to be critical for agricultural
co-operatives’ scaling up, and even survival in developing
countries (Garnevska et al., 2011; Li and Gao, 2009; Luo, 2011). A cooperative
is defined as “an autonomous association of persons united
voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs
and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled
enterprise” (International Cooperative Alliance, 1995). Co-operatives
are established to achieve economies of scale and to realize economic
benefits for farmers, by improving their bargaining power in the marketplace,
reducing costs by pooling capital and resources through cooperative
enterprises (Schram, 2010).
Co-operatives are very different from traditional investor-owned
firms

Food Policy 73 (2017) 19–33