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Value Chains and Chains of Values: Tracing Tanzanian Tea


  • Loconto, A.


The objective of this paper is to examine value chain governance through case studies of four different certified value chains for Tanzanian tea. This paper takes a look at a traditional export commodity, tea, and discusses the implications of involvement in value-based certification schemes (Ethical Trading Initiative, Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance) on certified producers in Tanzania. Each of these certification schemes makes claims on specific values that it is instilling in a particular ‘value chain’. This paper specifically analyses the network construction of each certified value chain and answers the questions: 1) which actors are involved in each value chain, 2) which values are claimed as organizing principles of these value chains, and 3) what does this mix of actors and values contribute to our understanding of value chain governance. Between 2008 and 2010, eighty in-depth interviews were conducted with stakeholders who are certified against sustainability standards. Twenty-one focus groups were formed comprising certified smallholders and hired labourers. The conclusions suggest that despite claims about the ability to change trading relationships through the certification systems, most of the old networks are still in place. The certification systems only add additional buyers to global value chains that were already governed by highly relational and hierarchical mechanisms. These conclusions thus place in question some of the claims made by certification bodies as to their abilities to change practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Loconto, A., 2010. "Value Chains and Chains of Values: Tracing Tanzanian Tea," 116th Seminar, October 27-30, 2010, Parma, Italy 95057, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa116:95057

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    1. Alfons Oude Lansink & Ky–sti Pietola, 2002. "Effciency and productivity of conventional and organic farms in Finland 1994--1997," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 51-66, March.
    2. Michael Burton & Dan Rigby & Trevor Young, 1999. "Analysis of the Determinants of Adoption of Organic Horticultural Techniques in the UK," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 47-63.
    3. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
    4. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
    5. Jaenicke, Edward C. & Goetz, Stephan J. & Wu, Ping-Chao & Dimitri, Carolyn, 2009. "Identifying and Measuring the Effect of Firm Clusters Among Certified Organic Processors and Handlers," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49205, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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