Topic: The value chain governance of Public Food Procurement in Korea: the role of public kitchen as a leading actor in rural agri-food systems
Keywords: local food systems, public food procurement, value chain governance, municipal policy
There is growing recognition that the Public Food Procurement (PFP) play a potential role in enhancing the local agri-food systems as for its institutional purchasing power and its comprehensive dietary impacts on consumers. The purpose of this paper is to identify the Value Chain Governance (VCG) structure of the PFP initiative that introduces locally produced food to public kitchens in Jeonbuk Province, South Korea. The article argues that active institutional interventions in PFP may develop the position of a public kitchen in VCG. Following a value chain analysis case study, a series of qualitative interviews with PFP stakeholders conducted. The interviewed sample covered representatives from local authorities, national government, school’s public kitchens and farmers from the public meal support centres. With a focus on the position of pubic kitchens as the leading entities, it empirically investigated the governance structure, analysing institutional environments: regulatory and supportive intervention to the chain. The results show that the municipal policies enable the public kitchens to engage in the PFP value chain governance. In particular, the case of Jeonbuk province presented a cooperative approach to value chain governance, with institutional environments favouring regional entities, in addition to bestowing them with public legitimacy. The model entails that, public meal centres provide space to improve the capacity of regional producers and kitchens to deal with the complex challenges of PFP. The study thus suggests the importance of municipal policies deploying an approach to facilitating setting beneficial standards of diverse food quality and practices in local agri-food systems.