Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography
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Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography

Edited by Frank Giarratani, Geoffrey J.D. Hewings and Philip McCann

This unique Handbook examines the impacts on, and responses to, economic geography explicitly from the perspective of the behaviour, mechanics, systems and experiences of different firms in various types of industries. The industry studies approach allows the authors to explain why the economic geography of these different industries exhibits such particular and diverse characteristics.
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Chapter 12: The changing structure of the global agribusiness sector

Ruth Rama and Catalina Martínez


Following their review of the International Business (IB) literature, Griffith et al. (2008) argue that one of the most important themes to emerge from such analyses concerns international corporate processes and the differences which are apparent among various industrial sectors. Using data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Senauer and Venturini (2005) show that the distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) is geographically uneven and varies by industry. Thus, the geography of multinational enterprises (MNEs) requires studies which take sectoral specificities into consideration. This chapter analyses the changing structure of the global agribusiness sector and some of the theories surrounding it, in an attempt to understand the evolution of its geographical patterns. The agribusiness sector comprises segments such as agriculture, food and beverage processing, R & D, retailing and restaurants. We examine the entire sector, with the exception of retailing and restaurants, although these are also mentioned briefly. Agriculture accounted for 31 per cent of total world employment (40 per cent in developing economies) in 2002–06, and the food and beverage processing industry (hereafter, the F & B industry) for 23 million jobs worldwide and 15 per cent of industrial value added (UNCTAD, 2009).

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