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Quality Standards for Fruits and Vegetables: Help or Hindrance for Rural Development?

DIW Weekly Report 21 / 2009, S. 145-153

Vanessa von Schlippenbach, Isabel Teichmann

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Horticulture has developed into one of the most dynamic agricultural sectors in the world. The cultivation of fruits and vegetables has significant potential for increasing agricultural income and reducing rural poverty, particularly in developing and emerging countries. However, it appears that the growing consolidation in the retail sector has shifted power relations along the value-added chain away from producers to retailers. In addition, food retailers rely more and more on their own quality standards. The growing significance of such private standards could help to guarantee the functioning of markets and, ultimately, market access. Yet, it could also increase bilateral dependencies and the risk that producers further up the supply chain are exploited. In turn, this could hinder market access, particularly for small-scale farmers. Public standards offer a reasonable alternative: they create transparency and equal rules for all market participants.

JEL-Classification: L15;Q17
Keywords: Private Standards, Minimum Quality Standards, Rural Development, High-Value Crops
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)