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Global Production Networks and (Distributional) Regional Development: The Cinnamon Industry in Karandeniya and Matale, Sri Lanka

Eunyeong Song, Douglas R. Gress and Edo Andriesse

Journal of South Asian Development, 2020, vol. 15, issue 2, 209-237

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to examine the multi-spatial and developmental dynamics of the cinnamon industry in Sri Lanka, the largest exporter in the world by value added. This contribution compares Karandeniya, a major traditional cultivating hub, and Matale, a region new to cinnamon cultivation, deploying a Global Production Network (GPN) framework inclusive of regional development considerations. Analyses, based on input from 23 semi-structured, in-depth interviews, examine the potential for all stakeholders to acquire equity or ‘how’ captured value influences the region ‘and’ individual actors over the course of development. Fieldwork reveals four upstream actors in the cinnamon industry, namely—farmers, peelers, collectors and exporting firms. Results indicate that the cinnamon boom led to strategic decoupling with the exporting firms in Colombo and subsequent strategic recoupling with other actors. The primary contribution of the research rests in the interpretation of resulting structural changes in each region from a bifurcated view of regional development. Based on regional economic growth, Karandeniya appears to be more successful. However, considering the extent of value distribution within the region, Matale is on a more inclusive trajectory vis-à -vis cinnamon exports. Based on these results, three implications for GPN theory and related development policy are suggested.

Keywords: Cinnamon; upstream processes; GPNs; value distribution; strategic recoupling; Sri Lanka (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0973174120956496

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