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Fair trade governance and diversification: The experience of the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi

Smith, Alastair 2013. Fair trade governance and diversification: The experience of the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi. Geoforum 48 , pp. 114-125. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.04.020

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Abstract

This paper provides an empirical contribution to the theoretical debate concerning the impact of fair trade governance on the essential development processes of diversification and value chain upgrading. Two main positions currently shape this debate: one that argues the payment of 'above market' prices will promote reliance by Southern producers on low value agricultural production; another that fair trade might actually alleviate barriers to diversification and facilitate export opportunities. Responding to a lack of empirically grounded literature, the paper focuses on involvement by the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM) with two dedicated fair trade marketing networks. Based on qualitative case study research, analysis shows that dedicated fair trade organisations have played a significant role in promoting export diversification: particularly through the facilitation of market access and provision of the financial, social and physical capital needed to support such changes. Beyond this however, the study also highlights the importance and limitations of ‘moral geographies’ that permeate the construction of ethical credentials beneficial to the international marketing of Southern export producers in Northern consumer markets.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Geography and Planning (CPLAN)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fair trade; Diversification; Value chain upgrading; Moral geographies; Food security; Africa; Malawi
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7185
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 May 2016 02:46
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/48431

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