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Innovative Practice China: Case Studies of Carrefour's Quality Lines

In China, through the structural reform and the adoption of contracted responsibility system, land has been distributed to small scale farmers. This reform established the widely adopted small scale production model. However, as a result of the absence of an effective organizational system, overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are a constant in small scale production. Because of cases of food poisoning, since the mid-1990s changes have taken place in consumers' demand for food. This demand switched from quantity to quality, safety and diversity.

This switch gave opportunity to supermarkets to enter the Chinese market. In 1990 the first supermarket was established in China and in 1995 Carrefour established its first supermarket in Beijing.Because small scale farmers are difficult to control, Carrefour works mainly with large scale farmers.

Clearly, the aim of Carrefour's quality line is to serve the interests of the supermarket and to raise Carrefour's competitive power. However, there is a far-reaching significance for Chinese farmers, agri-food processing enterprises and consumers. The development of Carrefour's quality line is gradually changing the agri-food production mode and technology in China. Up to the present, their potentialities are great and their role should not be ignored.

This publication forms part of the Regoverning Markets project.

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