International Development Planning Review

Codes of conduct, retailer buying practices and farm labour in South Africa's wine and deciduous fruit export chains

International Development Planning Review (2004), 26, (4), 477–493.

Abstract

Global fruit commodity chains are increasingly controlled by large supermarkets in Europe and North America. The impact of retailer buying practices on developing country producers and farm workers has led to codes of conduct that govern the relationship between retailers and their suppliers. The extent to which these codes can improve conditions for primary producers and farm workers in global fruit commodity chains remains an issue of debate. This article draws on interviews with a sample of deciduous fruit and wine farmers and processors in the Western Cape. The results suggest that buying practices have had a significant impact on the labour-hiring practices of deciduous fruit and wine farmers and processors. For reasons discussed in the article, codes of conduct have had only a limited impact on working conditions in these sectors. The article concludes by speculating on the long-term prospects for retailer codes of conduct for developing country producers and workers.

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Author details

Mather, Charles