IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Specialty products, rural livelihoods and agricultural marketing reforms in China


  • Colin Brown
  • Scott Waldron
  • John Longworth


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to apply a market efficiency theoretical framework to analyse and postulate solutions to the challenges confronting China in engaging smallholders in higher value, specialty, agricultural product markets. A marketing experiment/trial to test these ideas is evaluated. Design/methodology/approach - The case of fine-wool marketing is used to illustrate issues associated with specialty product marketing. The market efficiency approach highlights the difficulties involved in relaying accurate product prices and values (exchange efficiency) while aligning the logistical requirements of higher value market segments with the small, dispersed and locationally remote smallholders (operational efficiency). The marketing experiment/trial was conducted in three fine-wool-growing counties in Western China in 2008. Findings - The fine-wool case study highlights that modernization of the marketing system is required not only so that smallholders can access the premium prices potentially available but also to improve international competitiveness. Originality/value - Engaging smallholders in specialty agricultural product markets poses significant challenges for China. The market efficiency approach (exchange efficiency versus operational efficiency) provides a new perspective on these challenges and offers new insights about appropriate policy settings both at a macro- and micro-level.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin Brown & Scott Waldron & John Longworth, 2011. "Specialty products, rural livelihoods and agricultural marketing reforms in China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 224-244, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:224-244

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Colin G., 1997. "Chinese wool auctions: Failed agribusiness reform or future marketing channel?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 175-189.
    2. Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2006. "The emergence of agricultural commodity markets in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 266-280.
    3. Wang, Honglin & Dong, Xiaoxia & Rozelle, Scott & Huang, Jikun & Reardon, Thomas, 2009. "Producing and Procuring Horticultural Crops with Chinese Characteristics: The Case of Northern China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 1791-1801, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Colin & Waldron, Scott, 2013. "Agrarian change, agricultural modernization and the modelling of agricultural households in Tibet," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 83-94.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:224-244. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.