HARNESSING SOCIAL CAPITAL FOR AGRIBUSINESS: TSE-XIN´S ORGANIC FOOD ACCREDITATION IN TAIWAN
This study discusses how a religious based voluntary group in Taiwan called Tse-Xin was able to harness elements of social capital to successfully implement organic production and accreditation systems for rice, fresh produce and processed foods in Taiwan. Social capital refers to the inherent structure of relations between social actors. Societies differ in their stocks of social capital, or resources embedded in their social relations. Social capital can be actual resources or remain potential resources depending on the context and how they are harnessed. In this case study, various extension programs were carried out voluntarily by Tse-Xin group members to influence existing growers attitudes and actions in the production of organic foods. Furthermore, growers and potential growers and processors who already embrace positive attitudes towards safe foods were encouraged to venture into new businesses through the retail network established by the group. The organisations success factors included vision from leadership, trust among group members, teamwork and having their own distribution channels, resulting in abundant resources to popularise organic production and certification. It is proposed that many of the success factors have roots in Taiwanese social capital and are further enhanced by the leadership of the organisation. Elements of social capital include respect for authority, homogeneity of ideas, trust, benevolence and collectivism. The gains of such a system include improvement in returns to growers, heightened awareness of the organic alternative among consumers and environmental sustainability. Much of the discussion in this case study may be of interest to developing countries that also possess similar social capital.
Wei, S., Shih, C.C. and Wei, F.H. (2006). HARNESSING SOCIAL CAPITAL FOR AGRIBUSINESS: TSE-XIN´S ORGANIC FOOD ACCREDITATION IN TAIWAN. Acta Hortic. 699, 487-494
organic product, supply chain management, Chinese culture, voluntary group, religion