Chinese farmers’ cooperatives and smallholder farmers

Jinghui Hao

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The general objective of this research is to obtain a better understanding of the characteristics and the development path of Chinese cooperatives and the effect of cooperatives on Chinese smallholder farmers. This objective is realized by identifying and assessing economic and non-economic factors affecting Chinese farmers’ choice of participating in cooperatives, evaluating the impact of cooperatives on farmers’ choice of production behaviour and marketing channels, and discussing the possibility for cooperatives to sustainably develop.

The objective is achieved by answering four specific research questions from Chapter 2 to Chapter 5. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods have been used to answer these questions. In Chapter 2, a comparative literature research is conducted to answer the 1st research question. Chapters 3 to 5 are based on field survey data collected among apple farmer households and apple farmer cooperatives and employ endogenous switching probit models, ndogenous treatment regression models and structural equation models, respectively.

The main conclusions are as follows. (1) Chinese cooperatives distinguish themselves from their counterparts in Western Europe mainly from six key aspects ranging from the initiation to the government’s role played in the cooperative development. (2) Cooperative membership has a significantly positive effect on the choice of wholesalers as marketing channels, along with a negative effect on choosing small dealers and an insignificant effect on choosing cooperatives as a marketing outlet. (3) Cooperative membership has a significantly positive effect on yields, but no significant effect on profits per unit area.(4) Both trust and social pressure are positively associated with affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment in a direct way. Furthermore, trust positively influences affective member commitment indirectly via the partial mediator of member participation.

The results and conclusions from this study provide insights into ways in which the government can enhance its support for cooperatives to help smallholder farmers cope with the challenges of China’s modern food markets.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Heijman, Wim, Promotor
  • Heerink, Nico, Co-promotor
  • Bijman, W.J.J., Co-promotor
Award date2 Jul 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463437851
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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