Social and economic upgrading in floriculture global value chains: flowers and cuttings GVCs in Uganda

Barbara Evers, Flavia Amoding, Aarti Krishnan

Research output: Working paper


Low-income countries are increasingly integrated into the global economy through their participation in global value chains (GVCs). This paper explores the extent to which workers and producers in Uganda have been able to improve their positions in floriculture GVCs over the past decade and the extent to which economic and social upgrading are linked. African flowers and cuttings, though closely related, are two distinct GVCs with different value chain dynamics and different prospects for social and economic upgrading for workers and producers. Both GVCs are closely tied into depressed European markets characterized by more competitive pressures across the GVCs. However, as a result of the different forms of GVC governance, the outcomes for Ugandan flowers and cuttings producers have differed. The dynamics of buyer-driven flowers GVCs have exerted downgrading pressures on producers. By contrast, the lead companies in the captive and hierarchical cuttings GVCs have enabled upgrading among their suppliers in Uganda. Workers in both cuttings and flowers GVCs have experienced significant social upgrading. Clear linkages exist between economic and social upgrading in cuttings. However, the principle drivers of social upgrading and its strong gender equality elements have been collective bargaining and advocacy by Ugandan trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (backed by European NGOs). In conclusion, we point to areas for further research and possible steps to strengthen economic and social upgrading and their linkages.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCapturing the Gains, The University of Manchester
Pages1 - 39
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-909336-77-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2014

Publication series

NameCapturing the Gains Working Paper


  • cuttings
  • economic upgrading
  • floriculture
  • flowers
  • GVC
  • gender
  • governance
  • social upgrading Uganda

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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