We lead off here with Forrest Zhang’s overview of the current state of Chinese agriculture. He outlines the main characteristics of the three main types: agribusiness, family farms, and cooperatives (co-ops). He argues that the relative development of each is highly dependent on the local political economy. Agribusiness, even if engaged partly or mainly in “contract farming” with small family farms, requires local government support and availability of large tracts of land. “Commoditized” family farms, on the other hand, require ready access to public markets, often constructed by the local authorities, typically in suburban areas. Co-ops, similarly, require state support but are nevertheless often subsidiary or subservient to agribusiness. In this paper, Zhang does not attempt to forecast possible future tendencies. My two short articles (one co-authored with Dr. Yuan Gao) each seeks to demonstrate a simple but basic (and surprising?) finding. First, that small peasants, rather than the state or agribusiness, have been the main agents behind the capital investments in the new-age Chinese agricultural revolution of the past 15 years—the article presents detailed quantitative information and analyses to show that peasant agricultural (fixed and liquid capital) investments in the aggregate dwarf both those of the state
Rural China: An International Journal of History and Social Sciences – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2013
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