Rural transformation: Cherry growing on the Guanzhong Plain, China and the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

  • Guy M. ROBINSON , 1 ,
  • SONG Bingjie 2
  • 1. Department of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • 2. School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, China

Author: Guy M. Robinson, Professor, E-mail:

Received date: 2018-06-13

  Accepted date: 2018-12-20

  Online published: 2019-04-19


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


This paper echoes a tradition in agricultural geography by focusing on a single crop: cherries. It illustrates how developments associated with globalisation and growing urban markets are re-shaping rural areas. The interplay between global and local is investigated in two different contexts. A Chinese example reflects transformations affecting the countryside following national economic reforms. Focusing on the hinterland of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, it examines farmers’ responses to the changing socio-political context and the rising size and wealth of the local market. Individual initiatives backed by government support have spawned localised concentrations of cherry growing and increased horticultural production. Farm-based tourism is creating new relationships between farmers and consumers, with farms becoming more diversified and multifunctional. The second example is the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, where cherry growing is increasingly combined with direct sales to consumers and gastronomic tourism. The paper addresses contrasts and similarities between the two examples in the interplay between global and local, and a ‘multifunctional transition’ in farming. Concluding remarks include reference to new economic links forged between China and Australia through relaxations on cherry imports to China and new patterns of Chinese foreign direct investment into Australian cherry production. A research agenda for future research is suggested.

Cite this article

Guy M. ROBINSON , SONG Bingjie . Rural transformation: Cherry growing on the Guanzhong Plain, China and the Adelaide Hills, South Australia[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019 , 29(5) : 675 -701 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1621-2

1 Introduction

Agricultural geography has a long history of focusing on the distribution and nature of production of specific crops and livestock. Examples from ‘classical’ works in the field include seminal studies from the United States by J.F. Hart on tobacco (Hart and Chestang, 1996), cotton (Hart, 1977) and sheep (Hart, 1956), and by O.E. Baker on wheat (Baker, 1925) and his contributions to similar studies dealing with cattle, poultry, sheep and rice in the United States in 1918 (Visher and Hu, 1950). Other notable work by geographers examining the historical distribution of crops includes Meinig (1962) on the fluctuating margins of wheat cultivation in South Australia, Hill (2012) on rice in Malaya, and van Etten (2006) on maize in central America. Geographers have also contributed to studies on the distribution of tropical crops, e.g. cassava (Hohnholz, 1980; Carter and Jones, 1993), sorghum (Larsson, 1996), coconuts (Young, 1935; Ngowi and Stocking, 1989) and pineapples (Griffiths, 1961; Wee, 1970; Wilson, 1948). Focus on a single crop has not been a strong feature of Chinese agricultural geography (Liu and Long, 2011), though the changing distribution of grain production has been the subject of several enquiries (e.g. Terhung et al., 1984; Minglun, 1997; see also Pray et al., 2002 on Bt cotton).
These studies focused largely on where particular crops were produced and the physical characteristics of the producing regions. However, there have been new approaches to geographical studies of crops in which they have been examined within the broader context of the wider agri-food system. A good example is recent work on wheat as a farm crop, as a food and an industrial substance in various processed products (Atchison et al., 2010; Head and Atchison, 2016), and studies of strawberry production in the United Kingdom (UK) (Calleja et al., 2012) and Spain (Downward and Taylor, 2007; Evans, 2013), with its implications for water management and seasonal labour. In another example, research on grass and grass seed in New Zealand has shown how replacement of indigenous vegetation types by ‘English grasses’ can only be understood by considering the wider political economy of the process, as well as the cultural concept of land improvement (Pawson and Brooking, 2008; Brooking and Pawson, 2010). In the Chinese context, Yang and Chen (2011) have shown how Chinese rice production has changed its spatial distribution over time, moving further north in response to availability of labour and irrigation.
This paper seeks to address the wider context of the agri-food system, but specifically within the context of the study of a single crop, cherries, in which trends within two countries are both contrasted and compared. The opportunity for such a study is provided by consideration of the operation of two major aspects of ongoing change to the agri-food system, namely globalisation and urbanisation, but also within specific spatial contexts, one in China (the Guanzhong Plain in Shaanxi province) and one in Australia (the Adelaide Hills in South Australia) (see Table 1). It aims to show how globalisation and concerns to meet increased demand for food in China is forging new relations of investment and trade between the two countries with respect to the chosen focus of study, cherry production. In the conclusion these aims are translated into an agenda for future geographical research.
Table 1 Background information for the case study areas
temp (℃)
hours (N)
humidity (%)
period (days)
Precipitation (mm)
Guangzhou Plain1 14.6 1907.3 65 214.5 532.5
Adelaide Hills 14.3 2513.6 58 320 453.2
J F M A M Jn Jl A S O N D
Guangzhou Plain1 Temp (℃) 1.4 4.8 9.9 15.7 20.7 23.8 27.7 25.5 21.2 14.3 7.8 2.3
Guangzhou Plain1 Precip (mm) 4.0 1.9 20.0 84.5 50.5 91.4 18.2 58.4 92.1 59.8 30.1 1.6
Guangzhou Plain1
Sunshine hours (N)
135 139 148 205 216 132 268 218 130 120 66 130
Adelaide Hills
Temp (℃)
18.5 19.0 17.0 14.0 11.0 9.0 8.0 9.0 10.5 12.5 14.5 17.0
Adelaide Hills
Precip (mm)
26.7 22.0 35.3 56.7 89.9 116.2 139.7 119.3 102.1 64.5 37.6 36.7
Adelaide Hills
Sunshine hours (N)
304 263 242 189 146 117 127 158 183 239 261 285

1 Average for the administrative districts of Xi’an and Xianyang

Physical characteristics: The average altitude of the Guanzhong Plain is around 500 m. It is part of the Loess Plateau that extends across almost all of the provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi and into parts of Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. It is naturally very fertile but in parts substantially degraded by long-term cultivation. The soils are predominantly grey-yellow palaeosols, which are a reliable indicator of a cold-winter, warm-summer and arid climate.

Adelaide Hills has a mixture of sandy loams, loams and clay loams over clay subsoils. Soil depth is highly variable due to topography, which can range from steep slopes to undulating hills, resulting in shallow stony soils to the top of hills and deep peat-like clays at the bottom of hills. The Hills are located in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, with a summit at 727 m, but mostly land is around or below 500 m. Rain is concentrated in the winter months, with cool winters and warm summers similar to a Mediterranean-type climate.

Socio-economic characteristics: The major cities on the Guanzhong Plain are Xi’an and Xianyang, with a combined population of 13.68 million. Per capita annual disposable income of urban households is 31,307 yuan (US$4529) and for rural households 11,881 yuan (US$1719).

The closest major city to the Adelaide Hills is the state capital Adelaide (population = 1.3 million plus a further 73,866 in the administrative districts of the Adelaide Hills and Mount Barker). Median annual household income in these two districts is US$56,490.

Cherry prices for ‘low-end’ cherries in China were around TS$2-3 per kg but could exceed US$10 per kg for ‘high-end’ cherries. In the Adelaide Hills average sales are around US14.50 per kg or US$6.5 per kg for pick-your-own.

Sources:;; Shaanxi Statistical Yearbook, 2017; 2017-year- review-china%E2%80%99s-cherry-market.

Worldwide rural transformation has been dominated by the ever-expanding influence of growing urban markets, contributing substantially to globalisation of agriculture. Through globalising processes, the world’s major cities are increasingly supplied with food produced in distant locales, with ever more farmers becoming involved in producing for this global market (Robinson and Carson, 2015). Meanwhile, growing cities also exert more localised impacts on their immediate rural hinterlands. The major cities offer new and specialist markets for farm produce grown ‘on their doorstep’ in the peri-urban or rural-urban fringe (Zasada, 2011). Thus, there is an ever-evolving complex interplay between the global and the local being played out in rural areas, especially in these fringe areas, often leading to wholesale and rapid transformations of the countryside. This complexity is shaped by the extent of the local penetration by the global market, the potential of cities to consume produce from their adjacent hinterland, and a myriad of other factors affecting farmers’ behaviour. These include the lure of alternative on- and off-farm income sources, and the ability to respond to policy changes and initiatives, which are generating a new phase of agricultural development on farms, said to be multifunctional because of the multiple roles now often being played by farms (Wilson, 2007; 2008).
The paper addresses this concept of a multifunctional transition, “whereby agricultural stakeholders and society in general more readily value the total impacts of their land management decisions” (Fielke and Bardsley, 2015a, 233) or the role of farming in producing both commodity and non-commodity outputs (Robinson, 2018). The transition comprises the varying diversity, non-linearity, and spatial heterogeneity of modern agriculture (Wilson, 2007), generating commodity and non-commodity values of agricultural land use, and involves considering the variety of land-use impacts aside from purely economic interests (Amekawa et al., 2010). The extent to which developments in farming in both study areas are multifunctional rather than just representing farm diversification is considered.
The prime focus herewith is the interplay between the global and the local in two very different contexts, making comparisons and contrasts between sweet cherry production in parts of China and Australia. Sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) are chosen in part because of the increasingly important role they are playing in both the increasing importation of fruit to China, but also because recent Chinese investment has been targeting cherry-growing enterprises in Australia. Hence cherries represent a crop heavily affected by globalising trends in the agri-food sector, but often grown near to, and therefore affected by, major urban centres. They are also a traditional rural presence in many important regions of production, presenting a distinctive cultural dimension to their cultivation, dating as far back as 300BC when they were named after the Turkish town of Cerasus. In China, many species of cherry have long been cultivated for their edible fruit or as garden ornamentals (Lu and Boufford, 2003; Valder, 2003). The cherry also has spiritual meaning in parts of China through Buddhism, being associated with virginity and immortality, and myths have used cherries as symbols of both education and concealment. Global and urban forces are operating on a crop that is well established in both case study areas, but with some rapid changes occurring in recent decades.
The two areas were selected for study because they provide a useful combination of contrasts and similarities that enabled us to propose that we can learn more about rural development from juxtaposing their experiences. In relative terms both have a history of localised growing of cherries and other fruit, but neither area has been the major national producer for this crop. This is changing rapidly, especially in the Chinese case where the nature of rural transformation has been far more recent and dramatic (see Section 2.1 below). Both areas have been expanding tourist-related activities, linking farm-based enterprise to broader rural development. On a larger canvas, globalisation is providing scope for new patterns of investment and trade to which producers in the two areas are responding. Some of these developments directly link China to Australian cherry production through investment and exports.
The case studies discussed below were investigated by the authors as part of projects on development in the peri-urban fringe. In both cases this involved informal on-farm discussions and interviews in addition to use of secondary information about production. However, reliance was also placed on the authors’ personal observations of the ‘farming scene’, which involved participant observation in farm-based tourism in both study areas, and in a major world heritage bid in the Australian case study. The main focus is on China where a total of 84 semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of farming families (40 men and 44 women) of whom 66 (78.6%) were active in the labour force (aged 25 to 60), 10 (11.9%) were aged over 60 and the remaining 8 (9.5%) were under 25. The sample was selected by a mixture of random sampling, snowballing and a purposive component as we deliberately sought out those farmers who had initiated the commercialisation of cherry growing and tourist-related activities (e.g. pick-your-own and farm restaurants). All interviewees had been resident in their village for at least 20 years. In Australia, we focused on those cherry producers who were involved in tourism (n = 24), using information available on the internet and via personal observation. Our research in the Adelaide Hills is less advanced than that on the Guanzhong Plain, and hence interviews with growers and key stakeholders will not take place until the next phase of the project, using the internet data to construct our sampling frame.

2 Rural transformation

Before detailing the growth of cherry production on the Guanzhong Plain, it is important to note the significant context within which this has occurred, as this has provided a dramatic new context both for farming and wider economic development. Rural restructuring in China since 1978 has seen dramatic transformations occur across the countryside as government-backed programs have helped change the nature of production, introducing modern technology that has enabled farmers to respond to growing demands for more food production (F. Liu, 2016; Unger, 2016). There have been substantial modifications to land use and land cover (Long et al., 2011; Yu et al., 2012; Tang et al., 2013; Zhao, 2013), including dramatic losses of farmland to urban development (Jiang et al., 2013; Liu et al., 2014; Deng et al., 2015). Substitution of capital for labour has contributed to huge rural outmigration, with the attractive forces exerted by the rapidly expanding employment base of Chinese cities drawing migrants into the urban orbit (Qin and Liao, 2016; Zhang et al., 2016). Yet, there are wide variations in the actual experience of this transformation across rural China and in the extent of urban expansion (Wei et al., 2017), with Long and Liu (2016, p.387) noting that, “whilst rural income levels have improved in many regions, especially those close to large urban centers, urban-rural inequalities in income and uncoordinated urban-rural development have increased in more developed regions.” Hence, rural poverty remains a major issue (Liu et al., 2017), and around the major cities there are concerns over losses of prime farmland to urban sprawl (Li et al., 2015; Tu et al., 2018).
Although the national macro-economic context has played the key role in the widespread changes to Chinese agriculture, increasingly rural China is also being integrated into global social and economic networks (Liu and Liu, 2016). This means that change for any one Chinese rural community represents a microcosm of local, regional, national and, increasingly, global influences (Y. Liu et al., 2016). With China’s huge growing market-based economic development, the economic behaviour of former peasant households has shown a transition from survival rationality to economic rationality (Li and Fu, 2008). In effect, there has been the development of “new-type, professional farmers” (Tu and Long, 2017, p.1178) who have helped drive positive rural transformation through innovation in areas where agriculture has dramatically intensified. This has been referred to as comprising ‘bottom-up’ initiatives (Li et al., 2016), a critical element in rural revival in some villages, though often aided by government.
Urban and global influences are especially prevalent in the hinterlands of the major cities. Here farmers have only survived against the encroaching tide of urban sprawl by intensifying production and responding to the food demands of the growing urban populace. From the 1980s onwards, some villages have developed manufacturing and processing industries in the form of substantial township and village enterprises (TVEs), absorbing surplus farm labour and contributing to widespread land fragmentation (Tian, 2015; Guldin, 2018). The surviving farming communities have become interspersed amongst urban developments, with major new residential, industrial and service complexes occupying large swathes of former farmland.
This process has been recently referred to as ‘horizontality’ (Viganó, 2016) or the spread of vast metropolitan regions in which urban growth has produced new urban centres and spawling urban-industrial landscapes, often far removed from the actual metropolitan centre. It has been fostered in China by the creation of massive new towns and concentrations of employment to enable modern forms of industrial and service activity to develop that maximise use of digital technology, software and hardware development, and e-commerce (Chen and Reese, 2015; Gervasi, 2015). This represents a new urban ecology, in which there is a redefining of relationships between open and built space, agriculture, water supply, forest and new urban forms (Zhang, 2018). Rather than a distinct rural-urban dichotomy, there is tremendous intermingling of land uses, with new inter-connections being created between the urban and the rural, the city and the farm, with a bluring of boundaries, border and flows. It resembles the so-called desakota landscapes observed by McGee (2009) across Southeast Asia and which are now receiving attention from researchers around China (Xie et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2017; Lin, 2018). It has been referred to by X. Liu et al. (2016) as semi-urbanisation, which they calculate accounted for around two-thirds of the urbanisation in Shaanxi Province from 2000 to 2010 (the same as the national average).

3 The case studies - Guanzhong Plain, Shaanxi Province

3.1 Cherry growing in China

Around 60% of Chinese sweet cherry cultivation is concentrated today in Shandong Province. Other growing areas include Dalian (northern China), Shaanxi and Sichuan. Common cultivars of cherries in the country include “Napoleon”, “Black Tartarian”, and “Bing”. Cherries are increasingly popular with Chinese consumers and are often given as gifts. The growing popularity of the fruit is reflected in the rise in both imports and domestic production. There was a marked increase in the latter from 1995, with national production quadrupling between 1995 and 2005 (Ing, 2005). In 2016 domestic production was just under 35,000 tonnes, making China the 18th largest producer in the world (Turkey is first with 445,556 tonnes) (World, 2017). Domestic sales have risen from 15,000 tonnes in 2010 to at least 120,000 tonnes projected in 2020, or around 2% of world consumption compared with 23% of the global imports of cherries (Sergeeva, 2017; Statista, 2018).
There has been a substantial growth in imports, with suppliers from the United States, Turkey and Chile, primarily via Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. At 109,000 tonnes in 2016, China was the world’s largest importer of cherries with an average annual increase of +77.9% between 2007 and 2016 (Sergeeva, 2017). Cherries have become the most imported fruit in terms of value ($793 million in 2016), so that they now enjoy a 16.2% share of Chinese mainland’s imported fruit market (Produce Report, 2017). Per capita consumption of cherries in China has expanded rapidly and is the world’s greatest growth rate, averaging 22.9% per annum from 2007 to 2016 (Sergeeva, 2017).

3.2 Cherry growing on the Guanzhong Plain

The case study is provided by the Guanzhong Plain, the hinterland and peri-urban fringe of Xi’an, population 8.7 million, capital of Shaanxi Province (Figure 1). It is the largest city of the northwest region and one of China’s most important ancient capitals. The city’s popula- tion has expanded by 6.5 million in the last 30 years following the national economic reforms commencing in late 1978. Just 30 km to the west is the city of Xianyang, with a population of over 5 million.
Figure 1 Shaanxi Province, China
There has not only been a rapid expansion of the urban envelope, but also major impacts on agriculture in the peri-urban fringe, including changes to agricultural practices and widespread adoption of new crops and associated technologies. For example, between 1988 and 2013, through urban sprawl and the farmland conversion program, Grain for Green, the cultivated land area in the Xi’an-Xianyang metropolitan area fell by 287,140 ha (Zhou, 2015). Meanwhile, Xi’an expanded its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) one hundred-fold from 5.758 billion yuan (US$0.88 billion) in 1985 to 580.12 billion yuan (US$88.9 billion) in 2015. “The combined annual GDP growth for Xi’an and Xianyang averaged 8.6% between 2000 and 2007 but rose to 13.6% between 2007 and 2012” (Jaros, 2016, 650). Since 2000 Greater Xi’an’s built-up area has doubled from 230 to 458 square kilometres. In part this reflects the creation in 2010 of the Xi’an-Xianyang New Area, with substantial investment from provincial government and various central government agencies. It is similar to Tianjin’s Binhai New Area and Chongqing’s Two Rivers New Area, and “has invested several billion yuan of start-up capital for infrastructure, made available enormous tracts of land, extended a sweeping array of preferential policies to investors, and kicked off several major investment projects in the zone” (Jaros, 2013).
Despite substantial loss of farmland to urban and industrial development, from 1985 to 2015 the value of the output from primary industry around Xi’an rose from 0.876 billion yuan (US$0.13 billion) to 22.02 billion yuan (US$3.37 billion), a 25-fold increase (Xi’an Statistical Yearbook 2017). In its peri-urban fringe there has been major agricultural diversification, especially into fruit and vegetables (Wang et al., 2014). This has included increased production of cherries, a traditional crop in the region, but previously grown only on a small scale largely for domestic consumption. In 2013 the total yield of cherries around Xi’an was 0.25 billion tonnes, valued at 0.48 billion yuan (US$0.07 billion), accounting for 80% of total yield in Shaanxi Province, and 50% by value. The total area under cherries in the city’s hinterland was 3866.67 ha, with Baqiao district recognised as the best planting area for the crop, covering 2333.33 ha, with a yield of 1.8 million tons (Xi’an Statistical Yearbook 2017; Shaanxi Statistical Yearbook 2017).
In the 1980s, agriculture in Xi’an-Xianyang’s peri-urban fringe was dominated by arable production. In the past 30 years, wheat, maize and other grain crops have continued to be the leading components of agricultural production in some parts of this fringe, but primarily in more distant areas less readily accessible to the city. Elsewhere, a much more diversified agricultural economy has emerged, in part a reflection of farmers’ responses to the growing demand from urban consumers. Moves to introduce different forms of production, especially after 2000, have promoted this diversification leading to declining grain production and substantial increases in the growing of vegetables and fruit, including apples, grapes, melons, strawberries, cherries, flowers and forest nursery gardens. There is high technology input, high productivity and high profit, with growers benefiting from rising urban market demand for fresh agricultural produce. Improved transport links to the city and the explosion of urban-based employment opportunities have also stimulated both out-migration and longer-distance daily commuting to work in the two cities (Chong et al., 2016). This has contributed to ‘hollowing out’ of some villages in the peripheral areas of the city’s hinterland (Wu and Yie, 2016; Liu et al., 2017).
The spread of cherry growing on the Guanzhong Plain was initially assisted in the mid-1990s by a United Nations Development Programme that targeted the diversification of fruit growing. The premise was that the introduction of fruit species, such as cherries, which tolerated the local ecological conditions (cold winters, hot summers, and relatively arid) could provide additional income for the agricultural population and supplement the substantial apple and pear orchards already in existence in some areas. New rootstock was introduced to supplement local cultivars of ‘Manao-cherry’ (Prunus pseudocerasus) and cultivars imported to China in the mid-20th century from Europe (Faust et al., 2011). Research was conducted by the Shaanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Yangling and the Shaanxi Fruit Crops Research Center in Xi’an, focusing on the suitability of ecological conditions for cherry growing. As a result, several villages used this information to develop cherry growing. Similar government support and investment has promoted other horticultural developments on the Plain and elsewhere. For example, a ‘Vegetable Basket Program’ (Cai Lan Zi Gong Cheng) was initiated in 1988 to expand and geographically consolidate vegetable production to supply the rapidly growing urban population. “Local government’s implementation of this directive included direct investment in infrastructure, such as wet markets, and the provision of subsidies to increase farmers’ incentives to plant vegetables” (Michelson et al., 2017, p.50). To limit undesirable environmental outcomes from more intensive production, maximum allowable levels of pesticide residues, antibiotics and heavy metals for fresh produce have been established.
Much of the broader expansion of fruit and vegetable production in the past two decades on the Plain was established through innovative planning in specific schemes that formed part of the China Western Development (CWD) strategy, launched in 2000 (Yeung and Jianfa, 2007; Qian and Xue, 2017). These included apple planting in Liquan county, vegetables and melons in Gaoling and Yanliang districts, grapes and kiwifruit in Zhouzhi and Huxian counties, and a modern agricultural technological demonstration zone in Yangling district.
A field survey undertaken by the authors in 2016 and 2017 in the sample villages in Xi’an’s hinterland, including in a scenic area known as Cherry Grove (in White Deer Plain), revealed some farmers had made a wholesale shift from wheat to cherries, grapes and walnuts from 1990 onwards. In Duling Village, for example, this shift largely reflected local initiative, sparked by a single villager,
In 1990, my home was too poor; we even couldn’t afford tuition for my children. At that time, one of my cousins gave me a suggestion. He said maybe planting cherry trees would be a good way to increase income. He is a professor in Northwest A&F University, … majored in vegetation science. I thought, just try it! What if I could succeed? Finally, I really made it! Cherry trees grow well, and then the other villagers were jealous, and followed me to plant cherry trees. But up to now, I still have the most cherry trees!” (male farmer, first commercial cherry grower in Duling Village, aged 70).
Initially, it was local native cherry varieties that were planted, but then, influenced by the effects of price, quality and transportation conditions, these were replaced by different ones of higher quality (e.g. ‘Hongdeng’, ‘Meizi’), giving better yields, and more resistance to pests and diseases. They have also attracted higher sales prices reflecting their quality. Most sales are into the nearby markets of Xi’an-Xianyang, and indeed, most major Chinese cities continue to rely on such relatively local food production and retain a high self-sufficiency ratio despite growing food imports (Lang and Miao, 2013).

3.3 An emerging multifunctional countryside?

The switch from grain to fruit production is only one aspect of a ‘new’ countryside emerging on the Guanzhong Plain. Whilst the value of ecosystem services in Duling Village increased nearly eight-fold between 1985 and 2015, this is not the entire story as we can also consider separately the changes relating to the growth of leisure/tourism, which rose by a factor of 40 (see Song et al., 2017 for details of these calculations). This compares with a ten-fold increase to the agricultural production function.
In villages adopting cherries as part of the wholesale replacement of cereals from the early 1990s, several fruit growers established ‘tourist orchards’ attracting the residents of Xi’an to pick fruit and thereby boost agri-tourism. Pick-your-own schemes across Cherry Grove reflect the growth of rural tourism, with new farm-based restaurants and farm-gate sales outlets. This is part of what Verdini (2016, p.6) describes as “reshaping agricultural activities into a more service-oriented or quality-oriented manner”.
In May and June, about 60,000 tourists (mainly from Xi’an) come to Cherry Grove sight-seeing and picking cherries each weekend. At the edge of one of the main producing areas near Duling Village a government-sponsored tourist village, Bailucang, has been created as part of the CWD program in the 13th Five-year Plan of the China National Development and Reform Commission. The tourist village will cover 140 ha with a total investment of one billion yuan (US$158 million) (Sangbe, 2018), and is intended as a “comprehensive tourist development centre” and tourist resort, with restaurants, entertainment (including an annual hot-air balloon festival first launched in April 2017), cultural performing arts, folk customs, and sports experience camp, all advertised as a “modern agricultural experience” for tourists. During the three-day May Day holiday in 2017, Bailucang scenic area received 1.02 million tourists (Shaanxi Tour, 2018). A key element is the village’s location along the Silk Road under the One Belt One Road initiative (Lim et al., 2016). Bailucang is an example of heavy investment in tourism mega-projects (Jaros, 2016, p.651), but also reflecting central government’s designation of the Guanzhong Plain as a strategic area for the CWD program.
Rural tourism has become a rapidly growing phenomenon across the area, with farmers in some villages making additional income not only from pick-your-own schemes but also farmhouse-based restaurants and cafes as part of the Farmhouse Joy (nong jia le) Movement (Wu, 2016; Yang, 2012). This is the case for Duling Village, but expansion of on-farm restaurants is now occurring in other villages across the Guanzhong Plain, using local food as a major attraction for tourists, e.g., the newly-created Speciality Food Street (Xiao chi) in Yuanjia, north-west of Xi’an (Gao and Wu, 2017) where there are direct parallels with Duling through the development of family-run hotels (Nong jia le) and food from local farming family hotels (Nong jia fan).
Originally associated with the foodstuffs of ethnic majority Han Chinese farmers near major cities, Farmhouse Joy has been spread by various development projects and local initiatives, now also emerging in ethnic minority villages and in more remote locations. The Movement has marketed the restaurants as an opportunity for urban residents to consume ‘farmers’ foods’ (nong jia cai), thereby providing a link to rural authenticity. It is selling an opportunity for a return to rural roots for urbanites who can experience a small part of farm life in situ on or close to a working farm. This taps into a nostalgic view of rurality at odds with the commonly held view of many Chinese urbanites that rural is associated with hardship, deprivation and a lack of choice (Wu, 2014, p.159).
Farmhouse Joy is also part of the worldwide phenomenon of heritage tourism in which the urban middle class seeks out the presumed simplicity and authenticity of rural life, or perhaps a past rurality, being recreated for their consumption. The focus on food has led to the term ‘gastronomic tourism’ being employed (Hall and Mitchell 2013). The original understanding of farmers’ foods in China was that it used vegetables produced with “seeds saved by farmers, grown by traditional organic methods, and then cooked and served as part of farmers’ traditional cuisines and eaten in a farmhouse or a farmhouse-like space” (Wu, 2014, p.161). Observations by the authors note that in the villages near Xi’an the focus has been primarily on offering traditional food dishes typical of that area, using produce sourced on-farm or locally produced. Verdini (2016) notes this is part of a gradual diversification of rural economic activities around many Chinese cities, especially related to tourism, leisure activities and the production of specific local food. It reflects a greater intermingling of land uses in the peri-urban fringe, as agricultural intensification occurs alongside the so-called ‘desakota’ landscape of urbanisation and industrialisation (McGee, 1991).
At first, farm households derived income from cherry production through direct sales by farmers themselves at urban markets. In addition to granting individual use rights to land, the government also relaxed restrictions on the private retail sector and all market centralisation for food items in China was abolished in 1993. Hence cherry farmers took advantage of the popularity of open-air retail markets for food (Hong, 2000). Whilst these direct sales continue, there has been a growth in sales to merchants who transport the produce from farms to local and distant cities, as well as more recent internet-based sales to merchants who have thrived since the government established the country’s first fresh produce wholesale market in 1984. A new sector of private intermediaries has emerged in recent years to aggregate production and reduce costs by connecting small farmers with supermarkets across China (Zhang and Donaldson, 2008). These intermediaries are playing a growing role in not only shaping the organisation of land, labour and production through contracts but also transforming supply chains (Michelson et al., 2017). Some major supermarkets, like Walmart, are moving fresh produce procurement away from wholesale markets towards greater contractual-based procurement from farming communities.
More recent government measures to support improved marketing of produce include promoting farmer marketing cooperatives, through increasing their bargaining power and capacity to coordinate production and marketing (Deng et al., 2010). Meanwhile, the Dragon-Head Companies Program has promoted agricultural industrialisation and vertical coordination between agri-industrial enterprises and farming communities (Zhang, 2012). For the last decade there have also been Direct Farm programs, encouraging contracts between large retail buyers, such as supermarkets, and farm communities. This is involving the full range of grocery retailers from the local to the supra-national. In some cases, other types of arrangement have emerged where intermediaries acquire greater control of land, labour and production to ensure security of supply. To date, this does not appear to have affected cherry producers on the Guanzhong Plain.

4 The case studies - The Adelaide Hills, South Australia

4.1 Cherry growing in Australia

The Australian cherry industry produced 18,584 tonnes of cherries in 2015/16 worth A$164 million, from 485 producers on 2,845 ha. Around 20% of growers supply 80% of the produce. A$76 million were obtained from exports, representing just 0.5% of the world’s cherry exports, but 30% of the domestic crop (5,593 tonnes worth A$76.1 million in 2015) was exported and plays a significant role in the markets of Hong Kong (accounting for over 35% of total cherry imports), Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and mainland China (CGA Inc, 2018). Exports rose four-fold between 2010 and 2015, with 63% of exports going to China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) (HIA, 2016, p.92-93). Trends suggest that cherry production will increase to 20,000 tonnes by 2020, with half of this exported.
Cherries have been cultivated in Australia since the arrival of European settlers from 1788, but large-scale commercial production of sweet cherries only dates to 1878, with plantings at Young in south-western New South Wales. This small town (population 7,170 in 2016) is now known as the ‘Cherry Capital of Australia’ and hosts an annual national cherry festival. However, cherries are grown in all states (see Table 2), but primarily in the most temperate areas of south-east Australia (Figure 2). Different varieties have been developed to enable the production season to be extended. Principal varieties include Empress, Merchant, Supreme, Ron’s seedling, Chelan, Ulster, Van, Bing, Stella, Nordwunder, Lapins, Simone, Regina, Kordia and Sweetheart. A member-based organisation to represent the interests of its member states and orchardists nationally, Cherry Growers Australia (CGA), was established in the 1970s.
Table 2 Cherry growing in Australia, 2014
State Growers Area (ha) Production (t) Exported (%)
New South Wales 108 800 4407 25
Queensland 18 25 36 0
South Australia 118 590 2500 6
Tasmania 76 560 4000 63
Victoria 95 800 4500 24
Western Australia 70 70 500 0

Source: CGA, 2014.

NB. The total area under cherry production in Shaanxi Province in 2016 was 11,613 ha, with an average yield of 10.96 t per ha or a total output of 127,300 t (Shaanxi Statistical Yearbook 2017). The average yield in South Australia was 4.24 t per ha.

Figure 2 Cherry producing areas in Australia
Since November 1993 the Federal Government has placed a levy or charge on cherries to raise money to support innovation in production (overseen by a federal agency, Hort Innovation) and improve plant health. This has contributed to a National Cherry Development Program, established in 2013 to raise awareness of cherry R & D issues, build industry capacity,and from 2017-2021 a Cherry Strategic Investment Plan to help guide Hort Innovation’s oversight and management of investment programs for the cherry industry over this period, using levy money. It aims to provide the foundation for decision making in levy investments.

4.2 Cherry growing in the Adelaide Hills

The Australian case study is provided by the Adelaide Hills in the eastern hinterland of Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia with a population of 1.3 million (Figure 3). Settled from the late 1830s, the Hills have had longstanding specialist production of fruit and vegetables, including wine, apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, potatoes and brassicas. Traditionally, fruit and vegetables were grown in the Adelaide Hills for the nearby market of Adelaide (Ward, 1862). In the nineteenth century, women would travel on foot and by cart from local farms to sell produce in the city (Kuchel, 2015). Specialisation has grown over time, with an emphasis on apples, pears, grapes (for wine), cherries and strawberries. Cherries were amongst a range of European plants introduced to South Australia when it was founded by British settlers in 1836 (Stephens, 1839), including some in a Government Garden in Adelaide, created in 1837 (Kloot, 1985, 223). “Within a few years of the establishment of the colony of South Australia in 1836, the Adelaide Hills landscape had undergone significant changes…. Commercial market gardens, nurseries, vineyards, and orchards as well as the private gardens of colonists from all social strata of society occupied the fertile valleys and covered the hillsides” (Piddock et al., 2009, p.65).
Figure 3 On-farm tourism and cherry growing, Adelaide Hills, South Australia Source of base map: .id the population experts
Around 1913 the Early Lyon variety of sweet cherries was planted at Marble Hill (15 km west of Lenswood) in the Adelaide Hills, the summer residence of the Governor of South Australia (Middlemiss, 2015, p.10). Reports of subsequent hail damage to the crop are a reminder of one of the natural hazards facing cherry growing in the area. In the early 1930s a large section of the Vice-Regal reserve at Marble Hill was subdivided for fruit (including cherries) and market gardening. Today a specialist pick-your-own cherries operation of the same name testifies to the continuity of cherry growing in the area, in this case with new plantings in 1993 (there are now 1800 trees there with the following varieties: Viola, Merchant, Stella, Summit, Bing, Van, Lapin, Simone and Morello [sour cherries]) (Marble Hill Cherries, 2018). Pasture, orchards and vineyards all became more plentiful in the Hills post-1945 as irrigation technology improved. Adelaide Hills orchardists developed the Black Douglas variety of cherry while the country’s main producer, the Young district of New South Wales, concentrated on other varieties such as Empress and Ron (Santich, 2002, p.12).
Because cherries could not out-compete apples and pears for returns on investment they tended to be grown on some of the poorer soils of the Hills, but a special system of tree management introduced in the 1970s dramatically increased yields, fruit quality and profitability. This was termed the Lenswood tie-down system, reliant on extensive tying of branches from vigorous rootstock to a horizontal orientation to induce cropping and manage vigour (Green, 2005). The Australian cherry breeding program was established in the Hills at Lenswood in the 1990s, as a joint project between the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the Australian cherry industry (Granger, 1997). The program launched new varieties, Sir Don and Sir Tom, around 2005 following earlier development of virus free cherry stocks at the Lenswood Horticulture Centre opened in 1963 (PIRSA, 2018).
There has been expansion of cherry production in recent years, primarily to take advantage of growing local and national markets. Today there are around 100 growers in the region producing 550 ha of cherries and an annual output between 2500 and 3500 tonnes, mainly from Stella and Lapin varieties (CGASA, 2018). One large producer, Torrens Valley Orchards, with 220 ha across six sites, accounts for two-fifths of the area under cherries in the Hills and leads exports from the region.
As shown in Table 2, there are relatively few exports from South Australia, though growers in the state sell to outlets in neighbouring states, notably Western Australia and New South Wales. South Australia accounts for 16% of the country’s production. In 2015 South Australia exported 325 tonnes of cherries, worth A$2.2 million. In the year ending June 2016 the state produced 18,584 tonnes of cherries worth A$164.2 million (HIA, 2016, 133-134).

4.3 An emerging multifunctional countryside?

Tourism makes a significant contribution to the local economy, with approximately one million people visiting the Adelaide Hills each year. For the Adelaide Hills and Mount Barker administrative districts combined this represented 435,275 overnight visits and 1,242,104 day-trips in 2015/16 (AHC, 2018; DCMB, 2018). There was a direct tourism expenditure of A$110 m in 2015, rising by 37% to A$151 m in 2016. Directly and indirectly tourism was estimated as contributing A$260 m to the regional economy or 12.4% of gross regional product. It directly employs 1100 people (5.5% of regional employment) and indirectly employs 2800 people (14.3% of regional employment). However, only 5% of overnight stays are international tourists (EconSearch, 2012).
Some cherry growers have their produce graded and packed through a large cooperative packing house, but much of the marketing is still primarily handled by individual growers who include direct sales as part of their marketing strategy. Two retailers and one wholesaler control 70% of food sales in Australia (Richards et al., 2013, 236), so they possess tremendous power. They demand high compliance standards regarding quality of produce, raising costs to growers who have limited ability to pass on costs to wholesalers or retailers. The smaller growers do not possess sufficient economies of scale to enter into commercial relations with the two dominant supermarket chains, and so there is a significant amount of production from smaller family operations or boutique orchards supplying local markets or utilising farm-gate sales to take advantage of rural tourism (Table 3). Out of a total of 118 producers 24 (20.3%) have facilities for tourists (Figure 3). In addition to the direct sales of cherries at the farm-gate, in 2014 there were also 53 wineries in the Hills that had a ‘cellar door’ outlet at which wine tastings were offered prior to purchase and/or where there was food available at a café or restaurant (RDA, 2014, p.24). Capital has flowed into this sector attracted by the steady growth of tourists and day-trippers seeking to participate in gastronomic tourism, as paralleled on the Guanzhong Plain in China.
Table 3 Cherry-based tourism in the Adelaide Hills
Activity Number of outlets Other activities at the 24 outlets Number of outlets
Pick-your-own only 7 Sales of ice cream 7
Shed-door sales only 10 Sales of jams/pickles/fruit juices 8
Pick-your-own plus shed-door sales 7 Café/restaurant 3
Total 24 Sales of other fruit 8

Source: CGASA 2017.

Fielke and Bardsley (2015b) suggest that there may be a multifunctional future for South Australian agriculture, as opposed to a continuation of the productivist mode that has been dominant for over a century. This future may include a greater (re)connection between farmers and consumers through the growth of direct sales, as illustrated in the growth of cellar-door sales, farm-gate sales and farmers’ markets. There are seven farmers’ markets in Adelaide and its hinterland, where local farmers and growers sell their produce directly to the public. They help improve social ties and link rural and urban populations through a mutually rewarding exchange (Robinson and Hartenfeld, 2007). Farmers’ markets offer an additional outlet for local fruit and vegetable producers as part of what might be termed ‘alternative’ food networks (Robinson, 2004, p.84-88). So, farmers’ markets are directly related to the creation of a perception of local uniqueness and difference (Fielke and Bardsley, 2013). Labels, such as ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’, ‘local’, ‘homemade’ or ‘free range’ are being used in the markets to attract premium prices (Stringer and Umberger 2008). The greater participation of farms in promoting tourism is part of this development, with the appearance of the landscape, and therefore environmental concerns, playing a part in presenting an attractive ‘package’ for tourists.
The multifunctional combination of horticulture and tourism lies at the heart of a current bid for international recognition of the region. The Mount Lofty Ranges Working Agricultural Landscape UNESCO World Heritage bid spans the world-renowned food, wine and tourism regions of the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula, all located within an hour’s drive of Adelaide. The UNESCO bid has a core ambition to deliver real and lasting economic, cultural and environmental benefits to the region regardless of the outcome. Across the region covered by the bid, agriculture accounts for A$1.4 billion of the Gross Regional Product (GRP) and 38% of the employment, compared with A$203 million for tourism, with 7% of employment. Yet, the region is losing more than 1% of its agricultural land per annum to urban sprawl, and creating more small-holdings, which are less economic than larger farms and often operated part-time and/or for hobby purposes (Liu and Robinson, 2016). The increasing population numbers and housing demand in the Hills is placing further pressure on the agricultural production systems to remain viable, despite the high productivity of much of the land. If successful the bid could help reduce this high rate of loss of agricultural land to urban sprawl in the region (Salver and Johnston, 2016, p.4-5). World Heritage designation is intended to promote economic growth, and a more resilient development path (Johnston, 2014; Johnston et al., 2014).
Essentially the bid seeks to convert conservation aims into economic gain for the region, using the value created by the UNESCO World Heritage global branding and public relations/marketing boost. Products from the area could gain a premium value-added component. The bid emphasizes the need to maintain the area’s significance as a working, evolving ‘cultural landscape’ by managing and promoting its fundamental character as a viable agricultural region. The viability of agriculture and the towns and villages of the region would be supported through a flexible approach that allows farming to flourish, and the landscapes to evolve and adapt over time. It is adopting the safe, attractive global World Heritage brand, whilst emphasising the region’s ‘clean and green’ image. There is the potential to enhance access to luxury and premium markets around the world as well as increased tourism, especially farm-stay, eco-tourism, gastronomic tourism, agricultural tourism, and bed and breakfast/guest house accommodation. According to various economic modelling exercises a successful bid would yield over 3000 new jobs in the agriculture and tourism sectors, $321 million increase in GRP and $155 million increase in household income over the first ten years of designation (EconSearch, 2012).
There is also an additional aspect to the bid, namely an attempt to stress long-term continuity of occupance, from the 60,000 years of Aboriginal presence to the near 200 years of European settlement. This is symbolised by support for the bid by three local Aboriginal groups (the Kaurna people), with a local elder claiming, “We are putting our signature on this document so that we can walk this journey together. This becomes part of the healing of our community and helps us understand our place and where we belong” (MLRWHB, 2018).
The bid consortium's nomination for National Heritage listing was submitted to the Australian Government in February 2017 but was subsequently referred for reformulation and to gain greater support from State Government who have expressed concern about the potential conflict with possible future mineral resources development in the Hills. Also, part of the area covered by the bid is designated for new urban development and supporters of this fear that World Heritage status may restrict future urban expansion.

5 Cherry futures: New links between China and Australia

Cherry growing in the peri-urban fringes of both Xi’an and Adelaide illustrates multifaceted impacts of globalisation and urbanisation. Both areas have responded to increased local demand, which has boosted production, producers’ incomes, creation of new markets, and revenue from tourism. So far, for both areas there has been limited participation in the rapidly developing global market, but this is starting to change. Globalisation is introducing new opportunities for trade in fresh cherries, and new international linkages are being created as a result, including between China and Australia.
Australia exported 806 tonnes of cherries to China in 2015/16 (CGA Inc, 2016), but Chinese and Australian business interests are striving to increase this, as illustrated by several recent developments. One of these is part of the growing amount of Chinese investment overseas in food-producing enterprises in a planned strategy to address national food security issues. Whilst most Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) has focused on natural resources in Africa and Latin America (Cui and Jiang, 2018; Tuman and Shirali, 2017), growing focus is now directed at agriculture, sometimes emotively characterised as ‘land grabs’ (Brautigam, 2015; Carter and Harding, 2015). In Australia, Chinese FDI rose by 12% in 2016 to reach A$15.4 billion, making Australia the second largest recipient of such investment (Ferguson et al., 2017). Australia has actively sought this FDI from China, and two-thirds of the 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees across the nation have developed a strategy to engage with China, with agriculture (including forestry and agribusiness), tourism, and education and training the most engaged industries (Huang and McMurray, 2016, p.iv).
The stock of Chinese overseas foreign direct investment (OFDI) (including from Hong Kong) in Australia accounted for A$88 billion (5.9%) of the total FDI stock in Australia in 2016 (DFAT, 2018), though only 3% of China’s total annual FDI in Australia is currently in agriculture (KPMG and University of Sydney, 2016). Nevertheless, by June 2016, Chinese investors had acquired 1.5 million hectares of Australia’s agricultural land, accounting for 0.5% and 2.8% of Australia’s agricultural land and foreign-owned agricultural land, respectively (ATO, 2016). Chinese investment in agribusiness grew from A$375 million in 2015 to over A$1.2 billion in 2016, of which A$280 million went to Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state, largely comprising the purchase of five cherry enterprises. Chinese interests have also bought cherry farms in Young, New South Wales, the largest centre of cherry production in Australia (Smith, 2014).
Chinese President, Xi Jinping, visited Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, in November 2014, signing major investment agreements and a landmark memorandum of understanding for a China-Tasmania fruit industry partnership program (Grinblat, 2016). Tasmanian cherries are the only ones that have direct market access into China (with the exception of Hong Kong) because the state has no fruit fly (Sophophora) and so meets Chinese import regulations. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) concluded in 2016 reduced the tax costs for exporters from 13% to 7% and they will be removed completely by 2019 (DSG, 2015), further stimulating cherry exports from Australia to China. The Tasmanian cherry exporters use wholesaler Premium Australia Foods (2017), which exports a variety of Australian food products to China and has included Tasmanian cherries since the summer of 2015/16.
Huang and McMurray (2016) provide a specific example of these growing links between China and the cherry industry in Tasmania: “Reid Fruits, a cherry grower located in Hobart, has rapidly increased its cherry exports to China over the past two years and grown its business thanks to the opportunities offered by the ChAFTA and the new access to Chinese markets. The firm has been highly innovative in its marketing practices and in protecting its intellectual property (IP) in the Chinese market” ( Meanwhile a major Australian daily newspaper has commented: “Tasmania’s famous cherry harvest is increasingly owned and consumed by China, with five of the last six orchards sold all bought by Chinese interests. A surge in Chinese investment over the past 24 months has left at least six Tasmanian cherry orchards in Chinese ownership, while at least four other local growers have entered into joint ventures with Chinese investors. The island state, with its combination of late-ripening cherries, timed perfectly for Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, and pest and disease-free status, allows air freight exports direct to mainland China. Exports of Tasmanian cherries virtually doubled last season to 2892 tonnes, worth an estimated $52 million, while sales to China more than doubled” (The Australian, 5.12.2016).
So far there have been no exports of cherries to China by South Australian producers. However, this is set to change. In December 2017 an airfreight protocol for Australian produce under fumigation for export to China was agreed. This gives direct access to Chinese cities rather than being restricted to Hong Kong. In 2015 leading Adelaide Hills cherry producer Torrens Valley Orchards exported 100 tonnes of cherries to Welcome supermarkets in Hong Kong (@A$36 per 5 kg; US$28). Their managing director referred to the protocol as “a game changer” and noted both the huge growth in the Chinese market and the premium price commanded by Australian cherries there (Kuchel, 2018). South Australia is recognised domestically as being the only mainland state free of fruit fly, but that has not yet been ratified internationally. Once this recognition is granted it opens the way for further exports of a range of fruit and vegetables to China and other countries, further contributing to fulfilling Pritchard’s (1999) prediction of Australia consolidating its role as a major supplier (or food supermarket) to Asia.

6 Future research directions

This paper has highlighted several important trends affecting agriculture in the peri-urban fringes of two major cities in China and Australia. It has focused on cherries as a crop whose importance has increased considerably in recent years in China, both in terms of domestic production and imports. This focus has enabled an exploration of certain major trends in rural development, including the transformation of the Chinese countryside involving the emergence of intensification in new areas of production, notably horticulture, helping to retain the vitality of some villages as they resist both urban sprawl and the loss of population to urban migration. It has also illustrated some of the potential for development of farm-based tourism as part of the ‘re-connection’ between urban consumers and farmers. This may be evidence of the move towards a multifunctional countryside in which farmers are developing activities supporting a more broadly-based rural economy. However, this and several other aspects of the developments reported here need further research to produce better understanding of the processes involved.
Although the individual cherry growers in the hinterland of Xi’an do not possess such a long history of commercialisation as most of their counterparts in the Adelaide Hills, and are generally operating on a smaller scale, there are similarities in how they have sought to increase and maintain their incomes. The development of on-farm tourist activities directly parallels that seen in the Australian study area, while the diverse marketing strategies adopted also compare directly with those pursued in the Hills. The impacts of the adjacent urban market are evident in both cases, as is the search for new outlets via novel marketing strategies (e.g. in both cases to access distant urban markets). Responses to globalisation reflect two sides of the same coin: from China large-scale investment is being directed externally to ensure domestic demand is met (purchasing production units in Australia); larger Australian growers are looking to export to China. It is not only the pace and scale of change that distinguishes China but also the input from government, promoting adoption of modern methods and translating research directly into on-farm innovation in a fashion reminiscent of similar developments in the United Kingdom post-1945 (Robinson, 1988).
In both study areas cherry production has been part of a wider picture of rural development in the peri-urban fringe. In the case of the Adelaide Hills, cherries have been an important subordinate (A$19.4 million produced in 2016/17) to apples (A$59.6 million), wine (A$23 million in 2014) and fast-expanding strawberries (A$35.5) compared with pears (A$6.2 million) and small quantities of vegetables (HIA, 2018). On the Guanzhong Plain cherries have been one of various horticultural crops that have featured in the transformation of agricultural development. In both areas diversification of farmers’ incomes has featured cherries for pick-your-own as part of the varied attractions for tourists, with some additional farm-based processing into jams, sauces and drinks. The local urban market has provided the prime rationale and support for development in both cases, but with wider markets increasingly being sought that can take advantage of global sourcing for foods.
Wider aspects of the ‘cherry story’ to be investigated in future research include the need to focus more on farmer decision making. Some interviews with farmers have been conducted with cherry growers and other horticulturalists on the Guanzhong Plain (Song 2018; Song et al., 2017). However, corresponding interviews need to be undertaken in the Adelaide Hills. This should be accompanied by further detailing of the associated tourist-related developments and farmer motivations for diversifying into this activity (in both case study areas). The role of farm-based tourism in the evolution of a multifunctional countryside also needs closer investigation. For example, Duarte Alonso and Northcote (2013) suggest key research questions about this emerging multifunctionality in Australian agriculture. The principal one is ‘to what extent are farmers involved in value-adding activities, for instance, by using a commercial kitchen to add value to their produce?’ But a key second one asks, ‘what are the main reasons, if any, for farmers not adding value to their products?’ In the Adelaide Hills will successful prosecution of the case for World Heritage status accelerate multifunctionality and, if so, how?
There is a need to develop better understanding of the role of rural tourism in the Chinese context, especially to examine the motives of the tourists. Are they simply part of a worldwide phenomenon in which urban residents seek some respite from the daily trials of urban life by seeking out tranquillity, heritage and the rural ‘other’ or are there certain distinctive Chinese characteristics related to the role the rural has played in the country’s development since 1949 (see Griffiths, 2012)? Can the Farmhouse Joy Movement be regarded as a counter to the widespread move towards corporate and industrial food production and distribution in the way that the Slow Food Movement (Clancy, 2017) has been in the West? In both countries will changing consumption patterns in favour of healthier diets have a direct influence on production, stimulating further production of fruit and vegetables and restricting applications of oil-based fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides?
In both countries there is a need to consider how farmers and rural communities in general are maintaining farmland in the face of urban sprawl. In the Chinese case a key focus should be on how the policy of maintaining a dynamic equilibrium of the total farmland plays out in specific localities across the Guanzhong Plain (Cheng et al., 2017). Is agricultural intensification in certain villages holding the forces of urban sprawl at bay, given that the amount of agricultural land in Shaanxi Province may have fallen by as much as 25% since 1980? Similarly, are stronger planning controls around Australian cities proving effective in curtailing sprawl or are some of the dire predictions about loss of prime farmland coming true (Parsons, 2017)?
Finally, there are issues to be investigated relating to food security, especially the role of foreign ownership, global supply and land grabs. These are contentious issues, but the impacts of changing patterns of investment and trade need closer scrutiny. What will Chinese investment in Tasmanian cherry farms mean for local employment, sales of cherries locally as opposed to export, and what are the prospects for tighter regulation in Australia on foreign property ownership. Also, what will be the impacts on Chinese cherry producers in the face of increased competition from imported cherries?

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Faust M, Deng X, Hrotkó K, 1998, Development project for cherry growing in Shaanxi Province of China PR. In: Ystaas J, Callesen O (eds.). Proceedings of the Third International Cherry Symposium, Acta Horticulturae, 468. Leiden: International Society for Horticultural Science, 763-769.

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Fielke S J, Bardsley D K, 2013. South Australian farmers’ markets: Tools for enhancing the multifunctionality of Australian agriculture.GeoJournal, 78(5): 759-776. doi: 10.1007/s10708-012-9464-8.AbstractThis paper critically examines the role of farmers’ markets in Australian agriculture. A case study is undertaken in South Australia, where all stallholders at three farmers’ markets situated in Adelaide, Willunga and Berri were surveyed regarding their production and marketing techniques. Overall responses supported literature highlighting the importance of farmers’ markets to the producers who chose to exploit this marketing niche. A strong co-reliance on ‘wholesale sales’ was also recognised, suggesting an important integration of productivist and post-productivist approaches to agricultural development. Of most promise for long-term agricultural sustainability was evidence that certain groups of farmers were found to be realising the potential of these and other alternative markets, in terms of their risk reducing capacity, and diversifying to include various conservation values into their agricultural enterprises. These groups were less concerned about market fluctuations and more concerned with issues of social equity, environmental health and having fun, which meant they unwittingly epitomised the goals of political ecology, by challenging the dominant agricultural methods of production and marketing. It seems these groups also recognised that the direct nature of their transactions would sow beneficial social, environmental and economic ‘seeds’ for change. Finally, it is argued that policies to improve access to farmers’ markets and reduce the cost of participation would assist small scale Australian agricultural producers to evolve smoothly into a multifunctional era.


Fielke S J, Bardsley D K, 2015a. Regional agricultural governance in peri-urban and rural South Australia: Strategies to improve multifunctionality.Sustainability Science, 10(2): 231-243. doi: 10.1007/s11625-014-0272-6.Historically, agricultural policy in Australia has focused on maximising the economic productivity and efficiency of the sector. The issues that have arisen from this governance focus are manyfold. In this study, we illustrate the regional disparity and implications for agricultural sustainability caused by such a policy model. We surveyed farmers in two South Australian case study regions, the adjoining peri-urban Barossa-Light region, and the rural area of Loxton. It was found that respondents from Loxton had larger properties, saw more benefits from government support for agriculture, and were more likely to prioritise support for their local community and increases in productivity. Respondents from Barossa-Light were more concerned about risks of urban encroachment, prioritised keeping their farms in their families, and were generally more concerned about government support. These results highlight the complexity involved with applying appropriate government support mechanisms across a diverse industry such as agriculture, with various regional sustainability issues driving respondent priorities. We also suggest that regional variation will require explicit planning which aims for heterogeneous goals and that educational and cooperative pursuits may help to increase the capacity of the land managers in the case study regions. These suggestions have broader implications for other regions where agricultural diversity complicates policy to support the industry within historically productivist agricultural regimes.


Fielke S J, Bardsley D K, 2015b. A brief political history of South Australian agriculture.Rural History, 26(1): 101-125. doi: 10.1017/S095679331400017X.


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Green K, 2005. High density cherry systems in Australia. In: Lang G A (ed.). Proceedings of the Fourth International Cherry Symposium, 2011, Acta Horticulturae, 667. Leuven, Belgium: International Society for Horticultural Science, 319-324.Sweet cherry production in Australia has evolved from traditional widely spaced, tall, freestanding trees to much higher planting densities utilizing two approaches to tree training and management. The first system, named the Lenswood tie down system, relies on extensive tying of vigorous branches to a horizontal orientation to induce cropping and manage vigor. This system has often resulted in excessive vigor and shading from the manipulated branches. The second system is a modification of the Spanish bush system. Two versions of this have evolved: the Aussie bush (4 leader bush) or the KGB (Kym Green s bush.). Both the Lenswood tie down system and the bush systems rely on vigorous rootstocks to provide adequate tree growth in the poor soils where cherries are grown and to ensure large fruit size. Other stocks show promise, including Maxma 14. The KGB system has a spacing of 4 to 4.5 m between rows and 2 to 2.5 m between trees. This gives a tree planting density of 900 to 1250 trees/ha. Mature tree height is limited to 3.5 m and most of picking is done from the ground. The tree is developed by heading the tree low and then subsequently heading each scaffold limb 4 times over the first 2 years to develop a bush tree with 25 to 30 limbs. At maturity, pruning consists of the annual removal of 2 to 4 big limbs around the tree, leaving a stub. New replacement limbs are developed from the stubs. This process of limb renewal continually cycles the fruiting wood in the tree.


Griffiths I L, 1961. Changes in the South African pineapple industry. Geography, 46(4): 360-363. bonding in the molecule ion VO(H2O)(5)(2+) is described in terms of molecular orbitals. In particular, the most significant feature of the electronic structure of VO2+ seems to be the existence of considerable oxygen to vanadium pi-bonding. A molecular orbital energy level scheme is estimated which is able to account for both the "crystal field" and the "charge transfer" spectra of VO(H2O)(5)(2+) and related vanadyl complexes. The paramagnetic resonance g factors and the magnetic susceptibilities of vanadyl complexes are discussed.


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Jiang L, Deng X, Seto K C, 2013. The impact of urban expansion on agricultural land use intensity in China.Land Use Policy, 35: 33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.04.011.China's urbanization has resulted in significant changes in both agricultural land and agricultural land use. However, there is limited understanding about the relationship between the two primary changes occurring to China's agricultural land the urban expansion on agricultural land and agricultural land use intensity. The goal of this paper is to understand this relationship in China using panel econometric methods. Our results show that urban expansion is associated with a decline in agricultural land use intensity. The area of cultivated land per capita, a measurement about land scarcity, is negatively correlated with agricultural land use intensity. We also find that GDP in the industrial sector negatively affects agricultural land use intensity. GDP per capita and agricultural investments both positively contribute to the intensification of agricultural land use. Our results, together with the links between urbanization, agricultural land, and agricultural production imply that agricultural land expansion is highly likely with continued urban expansion and that pressures on the country's natural land resources will remain high in the future.


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KPMG, University of Sydney, 2016. Demistifying Chinese investment in Australia: The new normal, health, happiness, lifestyle and services. Sydney:

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Li H, Fu S, 2008. “The rational peasant” or “moral economy”: Review and new interpretation.Social Sciences Review, 23(5): 39-41. doi: 10.16745/j.cnki.cn62-1110/c.2008.05.057. (in Chinese)

Li Y, Li Y, Westlund Het al., 2015. Urban-rural transformation in relation to cultivated land conversion in China: Implications for optimizing land use and balanced regional development.Land Use Policy, 47: 218-224. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.04.011.


Li Y, Westlund H, Zheng X et al., 2016. Bottom-up initiatives and revival in the face of rural decline: Case studies from China and Sweden.Journal of Rural Studies, 47: 506-513. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.07.004.It is necessary for rural communities to meet conditions of decline, including depopulation, with effective strategies for rural revival and revitalisation. Based on Hirschman’s ‘exit-voice’ theory, this paper investigates the way in which local stakeholders respond to processes of rural depopulation. Case studies undertaken in Xiaoguan village in China and in 03re in Sweden reveal the effectiveness of bottom-up revitalization initiatives in combating rural decline. We show how local stakeholders’ strong “voices” in these places—which called for improved living conditions and increased job opportunities—held people and groups together, encouraging them to work together with shared values and attitude. The strong leadership demonstrated either by local committees or in stakeholders’ self-organized actions played an important role in carrying out revitalisation initiatives. We highlight the importance of not only reviving economies but also creating desirable rural lifestyles. Our findings also emphasize the need for bottom-up initiatives to align with government policy and regional development plans.


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Lin G, 2018. Towards a Desakota extended metropolis? Growth and spatiality of new (peri)urbanism in Chinese metropolitan regions. In: Viganó P, Cavalieri C, Barcelloni Corte M (eds.). The Horizontal Metropolis: Between Urbanism and Urbanization. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 111-130.

Liu F, Zhang Z, Shi L et al., 2016. Urban expansion in China and its spatial-temporal differences over the past four decades.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 26(10): 1477-1496. doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1339-3.The urban expansion process in China from the 1970s to 2013 was retrieved based on remote sensing and GIS technology. With the latest zoning method used as reference, annual expansion area per city, urban expansion type, and fractal dimension index were employed to analyze the Chinese urban expansion characteristics and its spatial difference from the aspects of urban expansion process, influence of urban expansion on land use, and urban spatial morphological evolutions. Results indicate that 1) under the powerful guidance of policies, urban expansion in China went through six different stages, and cities in the eastern region entered the rapid expansion period the earliest, followed by cities in the central, northeastern and western regions; 2) cultivated lands and rural settlements and industrial traffic lands were the important land sources for urban expansion in China; the influence of urban expansion on land use in the eastern region was the strongest, followed by the central, northeastern and western regions; 3) urban spatial morphology tended to be complex and was directly related to the adopted spatial expansion mode. Infilling expansion became the main urban expansion mode in the western region first, then in the central and northeastern regions, and finally in the eastern region. This study establishes the foundation for an in-depth recognition of urban expansion in China and optimization of future urban planning.


Liu X, Cao G, Liu T et al., 2016. Semi-urbanization and evolving patterns of urbanization in China: Insights from the 2000 to 2010 national censuses. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 26(11): 1626-1642. doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1348-2.Based on the prefecture-level data of the 2000 and 2010 national censuses, the spatial evolution of China's semi-urbanization is analyzed in this study. The stages of urbanization are re-examined by considering semi-urbanization. Nine types of urban development are presented according to the relations between semi-urbanization and urbanization, and China's urbanization is divided into five stages, namely, high incoordination, incoordination, low coordination, coordination, and high coordination. Results show that China's semi-urbanization rate varies significantly from one area to another; its order in 2010 from the highest to the lowest value was as follows: east, middle, west, and northeast. Urbanization and semi-urbanization rates in inland cities increase much faster than those in coastal cities. In addition, semi-urbanization displays a spatial pattern similar to that of urbanization across China, with the sole exception of the northeastern region. Through a spatial autocorrelation analysis, the spatial concentration of semi-urbanization is determined to be increasing. High-value concentration areas are expanding in the coastal east, whereas low-value concentration areas are growing in the northeast. Lastly, the evolution of China's urbanization model suggests a weakening trend of coordination between urbanization and semi-urbanization over the studied decade. Semi-urbanization can be viewed as a special production of China's hukou system, which restricts the permanent settlement of migrants in cities. As such, China's semi-urbanization trend is expected to exhibit a reversed U-shaped pattern as urbanization and citizenization develop.


Liu Y, Fang F, Li Y, 2014. Key issues of land use in China and implications for policy making. Land Use Policy, 40: 6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.03.013.The paper aims to comprehensively analyze key issues of current land use in China. It identifies the major land-use problems when China is undergoing rapid urbanization. Then, the paper interprets and assesses the related land-use policies: requisition-compensation balance of arable land, increasing vs. decreasing balance of urban-rural built land, reserved land system within land requisition, rural land consolidation and economical and intensive land use. The paper finds that current policies are targeting specific problems while being implemented in parallel. There is lacking a framework that incorporates all the policies. The paper finally indicates the current land-use challenges and proposes strategic land-use policy system to guide sustainable land use in the future.


Liu Y, Liu J, Zhou Y, 2017. Spatio-temporal patterns of rural poverty in China and targeted poverty alleviation strategies.Journal of Rural Studies, 52: 66-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.04.002.


Liu Y, Long H, 2011. Agricultural geography and rural development in China: Research progress and prospect. Progress in Geography, 30(4). doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2011.04.003. (in Chinese)This paper reviews the development course of the disciplines of agricultural geography and rural de-velopment in China,analyzes the related research progress,major achievements and their social impacts,and prospects for the new innovative research tasks and scientific propositions in the fields of agricultural geography and rural development to meet the needs of national strategies.In the future,there will be an obvious trend of re-gionalized and base-oriented agricultural production,and also an increasing trend of urbanization and industrial-ization in the rural development in China.As such,there is an urgent need for the innovative researches on agri-cultural geography and rural development to provide strong support to realize the coordinated and balanced ru-ral-urban development,and the balance between agricultural economy and social issues,and to appropriately deal with the relationship between rural development and environmental protection.In order to keep up with the pace of the national economic development,agricultural and rural geographers should continue the tenet of geog-raphy research serving for the development of agriculture and rural areas,and solving new problems under new situations to make more contributions to meeting the needs of national strategies.


Liu Y, Long H, Chen Y et al., 2016. Progress of research on urban-rural transformation and rural development in China in the past decade and future prospects.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 26(8): 1117-1132. doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1318-8.Urban-rural transformation and rural development are issues at the forefront of research on the topic of the urban-rural relationship in the field of geography, as well as important practical problems facing China new urbanization and overall planning of urban and rural development. The Center for Regional Agricultural and Rural Development, part of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was established in 2005. The Center has laid solid foundations for integrating research in the areas of agricultural geography and rural development in China over the past decade. The paper aims to review the major achievements in rural geographical research in China during the past decade, analyze innovative developments in relevant theories and methods, and suggest prospects and countermeasures for promoting comprehensive studies of urban-rural transformation and rural geography. The research shows that innovative achievements have been made in rural geography studies of China in the past decade as major national policy development, outputs of result and decision making support; new breakthroughs have been achieved in such major research projects as geographical integrated theory, land remediation projects and technology demonstration projects, new urbanization and urban-rural integration; significant progress has been made in actively expanding the frontiers of rural geography and pushing forward theoretical innovations in land and resource projects; and, with China development goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieving modernization in mind, future innovative developments in agricultural and rural geography should aim to make research more strategic, systematic, scientific and security-oriented, with attention given to promoting systematic scientific research on international cooperation and global rural geography.


Liu Z, Robinson G M, 2016. Residential development in the peri-urban fringe: The example of Adelaide, South Australia.Land Use Policy, 57: 179-192. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.05.026.


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Meinig D W, 1962. On the Margins of the Good Earth; The South Australian Wheat Frontier, 1869-1884. London: John Murray.The historical geography of South Australia resembles that of other wheat-growing areas settled in the nineteenth century. More agricultural land was surveyed and opened for settlement in 1869 and later years of good rainfall. Surveyor general Goyder had demarcated his 'line of rainfall' in 1865 as the limit of drought-stricken pastoral country. Permission to settle beyond the line, destroying ...


Michelson H, Boucher S, Cheng S et al., 2017. Connecting supermarkets and farms: The role of intermediaries in Walmart China’s fresh produce supply chains.Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 33(1): 47-59. doi: 10.1017/S174217051600051X.react-text: 400 Based on the experiences gleaned over the course of the AgroForNet project, strategies for the development of woodfuel-based supply chains - from the private, subsistence supply of logs for individual households, through opportunities to avail of community forest property and landscape tending material, to public-private partnerships - are described and suggestions made for the implementation... /react-text react-text: 401 /react-text [Show full abstract]


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Parsons S.2017. Land value and the value of land: Understanding the determinants of land use transition in Melbourne’s peri-urban region. Unpublished PhD thesis, School of Global Urban and Social Studies, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University, Melbourne.Peri-urban regions world-wide are experiencing transition from agricultural use to multifunctional uses; predominantly residential development. In Australia, the peri-urban regions happen to occupy some of the continent’s most fertile and well-watered land.Victorian planning policy ostensibly recognises the value of agriculture, and preservation of farmland is an objective of the State Planning Policy Framework. However, planning practice belies policy. Amenity consumption of land is enabled within a discretionary, performance-based land use allocation model consistent with market-driven neoliberal doctrine.This thesis synthesizes empirical findings with existing theory to explain the mechanisms of the peri-urban land market assemblage. Quantitative and qualitative methods are employed to reveal the tension between the value of land arising from market activity to produce its highest and best use, the value of land as an input factor for agricultural production, as a rural social and cultural domain, and as an important environmental resource.A case methodology is employed to examine the outer peri-urban local government areas (LGAs) of Baw Baw, Yarra Ranges and Macedon Ranges. Quantitative investigation discovers the spatial distribution of land parcel sizes, zoning, dwelling permit activity, and agricultural production, and a ‘price-earnings ratio’ derived from land value and agricultural production is determined. The quantitative findings characterize the commercial domain in the case LGAs to enable evaluation of the efficacy of state and local planning policies and their capacity to respond to ‘objectives’ in the State Planning Policy Framework.Qualitative investigation comprises semi-structured intensive interviews of the land market and planning assemblage participants, review of planning documents and a critical examination of ‘actually existing’ planning, referencing contentious planning episodes in each of the case LGAs.The thesis finds that planning policy and its discretionary mode of implementation is a causal contributorto land use transition in the peri-urban regions investigated. It also concludes that the planning complex is purposefully crafted to permit land use transition away from agriculture to conform to the neoliberal resource allocation model determined by market activity and highest and best economic use. Additional land use transition ‘influences’ are discovered and ranked.

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Qian Z, Xue J, 2017. Small town urbanization in Western China: Villager resettlement and integration in Xi’an.Land Use Policy, 68: 152-159. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.07.033.


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Robinson G M, Carson D, 2015. Handbook on the Globalization of Agriculture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.While the emotion of hatred is one of the most forceful and difficult emotions in intra-personal and inter-personal suffering in general, this article deals with the possibility of dissolving the emotion of hate, as a last resort of the injured person, through psychoanalytic enhancement and cultivating the spiritual dimension of the human mind in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in particular. Inspired by the book, I Shall Not Hate, and based on the concept of “transformation” in psychoanalytic self psychology as it appears in Kohut’s seminal article “On leadership,” in Raanan Kulka’s work, as well as in Buddhist thought, the article tracks the conditions for the development of the transformational unified mind as a mind of prayer, compassionate and lacking hatred, in human beings in general, and in the psychoanalytical space in particular. A clinical example from the psychoanalytical space will illustrate the way in which the transformational mind occurs as a state of mind lacking hatred.


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Santich B, 2002. Regionalism and regionalisation in food in Australia.Rural Society, 12(1): 5-16. doi: 10.5172/rsj.12.1.5.Abstract In recent years regional and state tourism authorities in Australia have, in their literature, promoted Wine and Food Trails and highlighted 'regional foods' as means of attracting tourists to the state or region. In most cases, however, the 'regionality' of these foods is questionable.This paper examines the validity of the concept of regional foods in Australia from an historical perspective and in a contemporary context. With reference to both European models and the regulations applying to wine regions in Australia, the paper suggests how regionalism in food might be encouraged in Australia.It also demonstrates important deficiencies in the approaches typically adopted by tourism authorities which, at best, identify foods from a region but not necessarily regional foods (foods of a region). Finally, the paper argues the need to justify and legitimise regionality in order to give consumers a guarantee of authenticity.


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Terjung W H, Ji H Y, Hayes J T et al., 1984. Actual and potential yield for rainfed and irrigated maize in China.International Journal of Biometeorology, 28(2): 115-135. doi: 10.1007/BF02191724.A crop yield model (YIELD), that uses climatic and environmental data to calculate yield and water consumption for a variety of major crops was applied specifically to maize (grain corn) in the region of China and Korea, by examining the parameters of potential and actual yield. A network of 241 stations provided the seasonal climatic input, which consisted of data averaged over approximately a 20 year period. Among the simulated results, highest yields under full irrigation (first growing season) occurred in the Yangtze River area, northward to Korea, Kweichou and Szechwan Provinces, and northcentral China, whereas least yield was found for the western interior. High yields exceeded 12,000 kg/ha per harvest. Under rainfed conditions, only the Yangtze River region retained its predominance. In order to achieve optimum crop yields, about 800 mm of irrigation water was needed in northcentral China, contrasted with none required in the south and east of China. Making certain dietary assumptions, the calculated grain corn production could potentially support between 700 and 400 million people, depending on the irrigation strategies adopted. If corn were used as feed stock for beef, only between 100 and 60 million persons could be supported. A sensitivity analysis was applied to determine the degree of error introduced by faulty, uncertain, or missing environmental input data for the stations utilized in this study.


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Tian L, 2015. Land use dynamics driven by rural industrialization and land finance in the peri-urban areas of China: The examples of Jiangyin and Shunde.Land Use Policy, 45: 117-127. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.01.006.As China experienced rapid economic growth, non-agricultural land, particularly industrial land, expanded significantly within its peri-urban areas. This paper takes two typical peri-urban areas: Jiangyin in the Yangtze River Delta and Shunde in the Pearl River Delta, as cases, and applies landscape ecology indices to analyze land use dynamics through overlay of their land use maps from 2001 to 2010. This research reveals that local cadres such as township governments and village collectives utilize land finance as a strategy to contest the reshuffling of central-local power brought about by the 1994 tax-sharing scheme. Meanwhile, under the stringent land quota system, local cadres allocated most quotas to the industrial sector in order to encourage economic growth. However, the fragmented governance regime, including county/city, township to administrative village and natural village, led to land fragmentation, which had adverse impacts on sustainable development. In general, the research on land use of peri-urban areas requires a comprehensive perspective of social, economic and institutional aspects.


Tu S, Long H, 2017. Rural restructuring in China: Theory, approaches and research prospect.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 27(10): 1169-1184. doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1429-x.


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Tuman J P, Shirali M, 2017. The political economy of Chinese foreign direct investment in developing areas.Foreign Policy Analysis, 13(1): 154-167. doi: 10.1111/fpa.12092.Recent studies have hypothesized that the Chinese state has sought to use outward flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Latin America and Africa in order to promote broad national interests, including securing China's access to oil and other natural resources, and pressuring states to abandon diplomatic ties with Taiwan. To date, however, there has been little systematic empirical study of the influence of these factors on Chinese FDI. In this study, we attempt to fill this gap in the literature. Utilizing a cross-sectional time-series data set for 66 countries for the period of 2003 2010, we investigate the effects of various economic and political variables on Chinese FDI in Latin America and Africa. We find that Chinese FDI is influenced by trade flows and natural resources in host economies, including oil resources and ores and metals, while also being directed to markets with lower per capita income. In addition, the study adds to the prior literature by demonstrating empirically that Chinese FDI flows are negatively associated with recipients who maintain diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. The analysis also suggests that, with the exception of natural resources (oil), there is little overlap in the determinants of Chinese and US FDI.


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van Etten J, 2006. Molding maize: the shaping of a crop diversity landscape in the western highlands of Guatemala.Journal of Historical Geography, 32(4): 689-711. doi: 10.1016/j.jhg.2005.12.002.Today's domesticated plants not only embody past human ature interactions, but also reflect social history. Human seed exchange, replacement and loss are important forces in shaping crop diversity. This essay explores regional history in relation to the shaping of maize diversity in the western highlands of Guatemala. This is an area of exceptional maize heterogeneity and a peripheral part of the region where maize was domesticated. Maize diversity seems to have developed through geographic isolation in networks of seed exchange that were generally very local in scope. However, recent studies on Mexican maize suggest otherwise. However, few studies have examined crop diversity or seed exchange from a historical perspective. A closer examination of regional history suggests which processes might be important for shaping the present geographical distribution of maize diversity. Seeds were occasionally transported over longer distances. As a consequence, maize diversity is geographically not characterised by sharp differences between farming communities; the main differences are to be found in regional occurrences. This challenges antimodern ideas of closed, local native ecologies. Consequently, the conservation of maize genetic resources is a challenge, but not entirely contradictory with its transforming socio-economic context.


Verdini G, 2016. The rural fringe in China: Existing conflicts and prospective urban-rural synergies. In: Verdini G, Wang Y, Zhang X (eds.). Urban China’s Rural Fringe: Actors, Dimensions and Management Challenges. Abingdon (Oxon) and New York: Routledge, 1-16.Introduction The rural fringe of Chinese cities is today a transitional place between urban and rural areas where several contradictions take place partly inherited from the past and partly due to recent trends of development.A consolidated body of international literature regarding the conceptualization of the fringe and the urban-rural interaction has already demonstrated that "populations and activities described either as "rural" or "urban" are more closely linked both across space and across sectors than is usually thought, and that distinctions are often arbitrary" (Tacoli 1998). Thus peri-urban households may be "multispatial", with some members residing in towns or other engaged in non-farm activities in the countryside. China, as other emerging countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, featuring rapid urbanisation, is no exception with similar "complexities of changing peri-urban production and livelihood systems" (Simon 2008).Focusing on the fringe means also to verify whether the current discourse of urbanisation featuring China as a one-way urbanisation country, converging towards a universal pattern of globalisation, is still entirely applicable (Dick and Rimmer 1998). This assumption, who historically gained success especially among international organisations, is based on the recurring discourse of the "urban age", statistically measured through the increasing amount of urban residents, but mainly inclined to prioritize urban agglomerations and to interpret the non-urban field as an empty field

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Wang G, Liu Y, Li Y et al., 2015. Dynamic trends and driving forces of land use intensification of cultivated land in China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 25(1): 45-57. doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1152-4.The aim of this study is to establish several important factors representing land use intensification in cultivated land (denoted by CII), using a multi-dimensional approach to achieve realistic and practical cultivated land use policies in China. For this reason, the theoretical framework was first built to explain the changes of land use intensification in the cultivated land, and then the variables and index were further developed for the purpose of characterizing the dynamic trends and driving forces of the land use intensification in the cultivated land at the provincial level. The study results indicate that the extent of CII significantly increased during the period of 1996 to 2008, due to the extensive use of fertilizers, machinery and pesticide, increased labor and capital input, and intensified land use. Moreover, the principal component regression results show that the productivity of cultivated land, economic benefits of cultivated land, labor productivity, and land use conversion are the main factors affecting the village development. The first three factors play a positive role, while the last one has a negative effect on the land use intensification in the cultivated land. According to these results, the main policies for sustainable intensification in cultivated land are proposed. First, the sustainable pathways for intensification should be adopted to reduce the unsustainable uses of chemical fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, etc. Second, the conditions for agricultural production should be further improved to increase the cultivated land productivity. Third, it is very necessary and helpful for improving labor productivity and land use efficiency from the viewpoint of accelerated the cultivated land circulation. The last step is to positively affect the production activities of peasants by means of reforming the subsidy standards.


Wang Y, Zhou Z X, Guo Z Z, 2014. Impact of the urban agricultural landscape fragmentation on ecosystem services: A case study of Xi’an City. Geographical Research, 33(6): 1097-1105. . (in Chinese)

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Wilson G A, 2007. Multifunctional Agriculture: A Transition Theory Perspective. Wallingford, Oxon & Cambridge, MA: CABI.In a time of great agricultural and rural change, the notion of 'multifunctionality' has remained under-theorized and poorly linked to wider debates in the social sciences. This book analyses the extent to which the proposed transition towards post-productivist agriculture holds up to scientific scrutiny, and proposes a modified productivist/non-productivist model that better encapsulates the complexity of agricultural and rural change. By combining existing notions and concepts, this book (re)conceptualizes agricultural change, creating a new transition theory, and a new way of looking at the future of agriculture.


Wilson G A, 2008. Global multifunctional agriculture: Transitional convergence between North and South or zero-sum game?International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 6(1): 3-21. doi: 10.3763/ijas.2007.0317.There is much debate about the 090004exportability090005 of theories developed in advanced economies to developing countries. This issue is assuming particular importance for debates on the exportability of the notion of 090004multifunctional090005 agriculture. By focusing on recent conceptualizations of multifunctionality that see it as a normative concept ranging from weak to strong multifunctionality, this paper argues that, with some modifications, the notion of multifunctional agriculture can be applied to both the developed and developing world. Based on these concepts, the paper investigates whether and how multifunctionality pathways differ between the developed and developing world, to what extent strong multifunctionality pathways in one area may be predicated on weak multifunctionality in another (global agricultural multifunctionality as a zero-sum game or as a win-win situation), and how the global transition towards strong multifunctionality could best be managed and by whom.


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Wu X, 2016. Local foods and meanings in contemporary China: The case of Southwest Hubei. In: I Banerjee-Dube (ed.), Cooking Cultures: Convergent Histories of Food and Feeling. Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 139-157.

Xie Y, Batty M, Zhao K, 2007. Simulating emergent urban form using agent-based modeling: Desakota in the Suzhou-Wuxian region in China.Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 97(3): 477-495. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2007.0055x.We propose that the emergent phenomenon know as "desakota," the rapid urbanization of densely populated rural populations in the newly developed world, particularly China, can be simulated using agent-based models that combine bottom-up actions with global interactions. We argue that desakota represents a surprising and unusual form of urbanization well-matched to processes of land development that are locally determined but moderated by the higher-level macroeconomy. We develop a simple logic that links local household reform to global urban reform, translating these ideas into a model structure that reflects these two scales. Our model first determines the rate of growth of different spatial aggregates using linear statistical analysis. It then allocates this growth to the local level using "developer agents" who determine the transformation or mutation of rural households to urban pursuits based on local land costs, accessibilities, and growth management practices. The model is applied to desakota development in the Suzhou region for the period 1990 to 2000. We show how the global rates of change predicted at the township level in the Wuxian City region surrounding Suzhou are tempered by local transformations of rural to urban land uses which we predict using cellular automata rules. The model is implemented in the RePast 3 software and is validated using a blend of data taken from remote sensing and government statistical sources. It represents an example of generative social science that fuses plausible behavior with formalized logics matched against empirical evidence, essential in showing how novel patterns of urbanization such as desakota emerge.


Yang L, 2012. Impacts and challenges in agritourism development in Yunnan, China.Tourism Planning & Development, 9(4): 369-381. doi: 10.1080/21568316.2012.726257.

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Yeung Y M, Jianfa S, 2007. Developing China’s West: A Critical Path to Balanced National Development. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.

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Yu B, Liu F, You L, 2012. Dynamic agricultural supply response under economic transformation: A case study of Henan, China.American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 94(2): 370-376. doi: 10.1093/ajae/aar114.China has experienced dramatic economic transformation and is facing the challenge of ensuring steady agricultural growth. This study examines the crop sector by estimating the supply response for major crops in Henan province from 1998 to 2007. We use a Nerlovian adjustment adaptive expectation model. The estimation uses dynamic Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) panel estimation based on pooled data across 108 counties. We estimate acreage and yield response functions and derive the supply response elasticities. This research links supply response to exogenous factors (weather, irrigation, government policy, capital investment, and infrastructure) and endogenous factors (prices). The significant feature of the model specification used in the study is that it addresses the endogeneity problem by capturing different responses to own- and cross-prices. Empirical results illustrate that there is still great potential to increase crop production through improvement of investment priorities and proper government policy. We confirm that farmers respond to price by both reallocating land and more intensively applying non-land inputs to boost yield. Investment in rural infrastructure, human capacity, and technology are highlighted as major drivers for yield increase. Policy incentives such as taxes and subsidies prove to be effective in encouraging grain production.


Zasada I, 2011. Multifunctional peri-urban agriculture: A review of societal demands and the provision of goods and services by farming.Land Use Policy, 28(4): 639-648. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.01.008.Peri-urban areas around urban agglomerations in Europe and elsewhere have been subject to agricultural and land use research for the past three decades. The manner in which farming responds to urban pressures, socio-economic changes and development opportunities has been the main focus of examination, with urban demand for rural goods and services representing a driving factor to adapt farming activities in a multifunctional way. Working within the peri-urban framework, this review pays particular attention to the relevance of multifunctional agriculture. Academic discourses and empirical insights related to farm structure and practices beyond conventional agriculture are analysed. Diversification, recreational and environmental farming, landscape management and specialisation, as well as direct marketing are all taken into consideration and discussed within the context of landscape functions. The provision of rural goods and services is contrasted with societal demands on peri-urban agriculture. This review finds that multifunctional agriculture has been commonly recognised in peri-urban areas a phenomenon that includes a large variety of activities and diversification approaches within the context of environmental, social and economic functions of agriculture. In response to the post-productive, consumption-oriented requirements of the urban society, peri-urban farmers have intensified their uptake of multifunctional activities. Nevertheless, not all multifunctional opportunities are being fully developed when one considers the large and growing urban demand for goods and services provided by agriculture carried out near the city. This paper discusses policy and planning approaches to support multifunctional agriculture in peri-urban areas.


Zeng B, Ryan C, 2012. Assisting the poor in China through tourism development: A review of research.Tourism Management, 33(2): 239-248. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2011.08.014.The role of Pro-Poor Tourism has been increasingly studied in China since the 1990s. The research has addressed a broad range of key issues such as the implication of “ fu pin lv you” (or TAP to use an English acronym arising from the translation ‘Tourism-Assisting the Poor’), governmental roles, local participation and the contribution of rural, natural and cultural resources to TAP. However, there has been a lack of research in some areas such as in the micro-economics of TAP targeting local poor people, quantitative research, case studies and anthropological analysis. This paper reviews Chinese academic literature on pro-poor tourism to provide a clearer picture of current practice and progress in TAP policies and research in China.


Zhang Q, 2018. Elements in Desakota. In: Viganò P, Cavalieri C, Barcelloni Corte M (eds.). The Horizontal Metropolis between Urbanism and Urbanization. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 205-214.

Zhang Q, Sun Z, Wu F et al., 2016. Understanding rural restructuring in China: The impact of changes in labor and capital productivity on domestic agricultural production and trade.Journal of Rural Studies, 47: 552-562. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.05.001.61We chose labor and capital augmenting technical change as key examined factors.61We examined impacts of key factors in Shandong and Henan on the remaining regions.61Key factors have significant impacts on im(ex)port of most agricultural commodities.61Improve capital and labor productivity is vital for agriculture production.61Each region needs to position itself properly based on their regional advantage.


Zhang Q F, 2012. The political economy of contract farming in China’s agrarian transition.Journal of Agrarian Change, 12: 460-483. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2012.00352x.How does rural China's political economy determine the motivations and constraints that drive small farmers and agribusiness companies into contract farming and shape its practice and impact? This paper identifies three distinctive features of contract farming in China 090009 varied impact on rural inequality, unstable contractual relations and lack of competitiveness with other alternatives 090009 and proposes tentative explanations linked to three features in rural China's political economy: strong collective institutions, active state support for agriculture and strong domestic markets. The recent turn in China's agrarian transition towards vertical integration of agriculture with industries is, however, undermining these conditions and may move China towards more convergence with other countries. Studying contract farming in China's unique political economy context shows not only how variations in the political economy can alter its practice and impact, but also how it needs to be evaluated in comparison with competing alternatives.


Zhang Q F, Donaldson J A, 2008. The rise of agrarian capitalism with Chinese characteristics: Agricultural modernization, agribusiness and collective land rights.China Journal, 60(July): 25-47. doi: 10.1086/tcj.60.20647987.The article discusses the agricultural transformation taking place in the rural areas of China. Details about the Chinese laws regarding rural reform and the effect they have had on rural Chinese farmers and families are included. The authors examine the expansion of agrarian capitalism in China and describe the rise of agribusiness in rural Chinese areas. The practices of Chinese agribusinesses and the Chinese land rights laws are explored. The relationships between individual farmers and agribusinesses is also examined.


Zhao Y, 2013. China’s Disappearing Countryside: Towards Sustainable Land Governance for the Poor. Farnham, UK & Burlington, VT: Ashgate.No abstract available.


Zhou Z X, 2015. Impact of the agricultural landscape change on ecosystem services in the process of rapid urbanization region: A case study of Xi’an metropolitan zone.Arid Land Geography, 38(5): 1004-1013. doi: 10.13826/j.cnki.cn65-1103/x.2015.05.015. (in Chinese)Agro-ecosystem has become an integrated crop production system with significant human disturbances. The urban sprawl and the conversion of agricultural types and agricultural landscape pattern driven by rapid urbanization have profoundly impact on ecosystem services which are provided by agro-ecosystem and strongly endanger to the eco-environmental security in cultivated region. Particularly,the fragmentation of agricultural landscape can explain a great part of the losses of ecosystem services in these regions. In recent 14 years,the urbanization level dramatically improved from 34.34% to 46.74% with the immigration of large number of rural population to urban area,the industrial development,the road construction and the built-up area expansion in Xi'an metropolitan zone. The rapid economic development and urbanization result in the huge changes of land use and agricultural structures and the landscape fragmentation,even bring to soil pollution and water resource shortage. Regional ecosystem services are strongly influenced by these processes,especially by the landscape fragmentation. The paper mainly focused on what's the process of agro-ecosystem landscape fragmentation and how's the influences of landscape fragmentation on ecosystem services in Xi'an metropolitan zone. Better understanding of these questions is particularly helpful for improving the awareness of ago-ecosystem services from the view of landscape ecology,and providing the recommendation for government agencies on decision-making of the ecological land conservation,the agricultural development,the regional urbanization and the regional ecological security. Based on the Landsat imageries,land use map and eco-social survey data,the changes of agricultural type and landscape pattern were studied dynamically,and further,the influences of agricultural landscape fragmentation on ecosystem services were analyzed in rapid urbanizing region of Xi'an metropolitan zone from1988 to 2013 by employing the theories and methods on landscape and ecosystem services. The results showed as follows:(1)With rapid reduction of cultivated land area and the increase of orchard and built-up area,the agricultural landscape fragmentation has been occurred in recent 25 years,the landscape pattern gradually diversified and landscape patch shape were irregular. The patch density,Shannon's diversity index and landscape shape index were increased by 32%,35% and 30% respectively in recent two and half decades. The dominant degree of cropland was gradually decreased among land types.(2)The expansion of urban built-up area resulting from huge central cities,transportation and tourist attraction construction and the growth of a great number of towns in region which result in the cropland,orchard,forest and grassland decreased and fragmentized are the main driving factor of landscape fragmentation; and the conversion of agricultural types,in which orchard dramatically increased and traditional crop production generally dropped,is the another principal driver factor.(3)Total value of multiple ecosystem services decreases by 1.3%,as the characteristics of the improvement in provision and recreation services and the decrease in life supporting services. The value of ecosystem services is greatly decreased in urban and residential areas where newly expanded from 1988,while it is greatly increased in other areas where newly formed lands like orchard,crop land and urban inner parks.(4)Ecosystem services' value will be improved in the earlier period of the regional central city expansion and the transformation of agricultural types because in that time the cropland landscape fragmentation is dominant. After that,however,the ecological services will be reduced thoroughly by the built-up area expansion network-likely that result from urban overspreading and large number of town's growth,transportation system stretching,tourism resort developing and industrial zone constructing around the whole region in the medium and later period of urbanization,in this time the multiple landscapes will be fragmentized completely and that cause to entire losses of ecosystem services. Therefore,this paper suggests that in the period of the sprawl of entire central cities and the growth of entire towns will cause to dramatically and eventually damage of ecosystem services in an cultivated,huge population density and rapid urbanizing region due to where the ecosystem services tightly depend on agro-ecosystem landscape,and also implies that to implant more large area of orchard,woodland,grassland and water body and to maintain the high degree of the landscape aggregation can improve the regional ecosystem services.