Adoption of Food Safety and Quality Standards by China’s Agricultural Cooperatives: A Way out of Monitoring Production Practices of Numerous Small-scale Farmers ?
China has experienced frequently food safety scares due to pesticide residue issues in recent years. This excessive of illegal use is often tied to numerous small-scale farmers. As it is a great challenge for Chinese government to monitor production practices of small-scale farmers directly, encouraging the adoption of food safety and quality standards by China’s agricultural cooperatives serves as an alternative approach to monitor the production practices of the small-scale farmers, and thus ensure improved quality of foods they produce. Based on the survey data from 124 vegetable cooperatives in Zhejiang Province, this study is designed to analyze the factors that affect adoption of food safety and quality standards by agricultural cooperatives in China. Our qualitative analysis suggests that cooperative size, perception and attitude toward standards, reputation, expected cost and benefit and the destination market have positive and statistically significant relationship with the cooperatives decision to adopt standards. The positive and significant effects of other factors such as innovativeness, price premium, customer attraction, and availability of support are not confirmed. Policy implications to encourage the adoption of food safety and quality standards by agricultural cooperatives are also discussed.
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