Food system resilience and governance:a pork story in China

Zhang, J. and Liu, L.X. and Tyfield, D. (2022) Food system resilience and governance:a pork story in China. In: Transforming food systems. Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp. 95-100. ISBN 9789086863877

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Given the leading role of pork in China’s meat diet, the stability of pork supply alongside the sustainability of pork production had been priorities in the pork system governance. The central government thus began the environmental protection campaign (EPC) of the pork system in 2014, aiming at optimising the regional layout of pig breeding and the producers’ competence. However, such efforts have been interrupted and challenged by the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in 2018, with domestic pork yield falling sharply in 2019 and pork prices and imports soaring consequently. By applying an empirical and in-depth observational analysis with the driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) model of these two significant events (EPC and ASF) in China’s pork system, this paper examines how governance may influence food system resilience. This analysis demonstrates the crucial role of governance in China’s pork system – as a pressure source for EPC by proactively facilitating systemic transformation or as partners with the pork industry to fight ASF shocks. The pork-related policy priorities have experienced a swing between environmental sustainability and production recovery, particularly as manifested in adjusting the regional layout of pig breeding. Advocacy and preferential policies for large-scale breeding have resulted in factual inequalities and accelerated the withdrawal of small producers from the pig production system. Public authorities’ weighing of sustainability and resilience across different stages has also led to contrasting views on policy formulation and implementation. From the perspective of resilience, this paper illustrates that pursuing reorientation of the pork system during the EPC has undermined the systemic robustness to cope with the ASF, while dedicated policies on recovery have further compromised the original goals of systemic reorientation. By exploring the sharing of risks and benefits among multi-jurisdictional and multi-level policymakers, this paper explains the involvement of governance in building food system resilience and reveals the complex trade-offs among sustainability, resilience and several dimensions inside resilience, i.e. robustness, recovery and reorientation.

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13 Sep 2022 10:40
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19 Sep 2023 03:38