Botswana's beef global commodity chain: Explaining the resistance to change

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10 Scopus citations


In an era of increasing global agricultural trade, many firms and farms seek to upgrade their agricultural commodity chains to become better integrated into global markets. Utilizing a global commodity chain (GCC) approach, this analysis unravels the challenges to and the potential consequences of upgrading Botswana's beef commodity chain. Specifically, the argument is made that political, economic, and cultural influences in the GCC contribute to distinctive driving factors that have prevented upgrading or niche marketing of Botswana's beef. In comparison to two other countries in the region (South Africa and Namibia) that have upgraded their beef GCCs, Botswana's producer driven GCC has not upgraded due in large part to the existence of three disparate producer groups: commercial feedlot, commercial extensive grazing, and communal producers. The diverse expectations, norms, daily practices and identities of the various actors in Botswana's beef GCC contribute to contradictory policies and practices. This study reveals that cultural differences in a GCC can affect the capacity of the actors to upgrade the chain. Although culture does not drive or determine the action of actors in a commodity chain, it does shape the meanings associated with particular commodities and influences the ways in which actors think and behave. Moreover, if upgrading strategies are culturally alien or alienating to a significant segment of actors within the chain, upgrading efforts will be resisted by those alienated actors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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