THE RISE AND FALL OF MIDDLE FARMERS: ACCUMULATION AND DIFFERENTIATION IN THE TEA CONSUMPTION REVOLUTION IN CHINA
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The rise and fall of middle farmers: accumulation and differentiation in the tea consumption revolution in China

 

The recent consumption revolution in China, which has in some cases created closer relationship between production and circulation, has introduced new perspectives to the debate concerning vertical integration and small farming. Using the case of a tea village in eastern China, this article depicts the rise of middle farmers and how they are then outcompeted by the dragon-head enterprise by utilising the over-pricing of tea, materialised in the construction and appropriation of tea factories. It thus argues that the dynamics of class differentiation continue despite the consumption revolution. Small producers based on decentralised means of production need to be protected.

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