Profits and poverty: Certification's troubled link for Nicaragua's organic and fairtrade coffee producers
Governments, donors and NGOs have promoted environmental and social certification schemes for coffee producers as certified market channels are assumed to offer higher prices and better incomes. Additionally, it is presumed that these certifications contribute to poverty reduction of smallholders. Yet, gross margins, profits and poverty levels of certified smallholder coffee producers have not yet been quantitatively analyzed applying random sampling techniques. Our quantitative household survey of 327 randomly selected members of conventional, organic and organic-fairtrade certified cooperatives in Nicaragua is complemented by over a hundred qualitative in-depth interviews. The results show that although farm-gate prices of certified coffees are higher than of conventional coffees, the profitability of certified coffee production and its subsequent effect on poverty levels is not clear-cut. Per capita net coffee incomes are insufficient to cover basic needs of all coffee producing households. Certified producers are more often found below the absolute poverty line than conventional producers. Over a period of ten years, our analysis shows that organic and organic-fairtrade farmers have become poorer relative to conventional producers. We conclude that coffee yield levels, profitability and efficiency need to be increased, because prices for certified coffee cannot compensate for low productivity, land or labor constraints.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Valkila, Joni, 2009. "Fair Trade organic coffee production in Nicaragua -- Sustainable development or a poverty trap?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 3018-3025, October.
- Tad Mutersbaugh, 2002. "The number is the beast: a political economy of organic-coffee certification and producer unionism," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(7), pages 1165-1184, July.
- Tad Mutersbaugh, 2005. "Fighting standards with standards: harmonization, rents, and social accountability in certified agrofood networks," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(11), pages 2033-2051, November.
- Becchetti, Leonardo & Costantino, Marco, 2008. "The Effects of Fair Trade on Affiliated Producers: An Impact Analysis on Kenyan Farmers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 823-842, May.
- World Bank, 2008. "Nicaragua - Poverty Assessment : Volume 3. Background Paper," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8101, The World Bank.
- Bolwig, Simon & Gibbon, Peter & Jones, Sam, 2009. "The Economics of Smallholder Organic Contract Farming in Tropical Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1094-1104, June.
- Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
- Meike Wollni & Manfred Zeller, 2007. "Do farmers benefit from participating in specialty markets and cooperatives? The case of coffee marketing in Costa Rica-super-1," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(2-3), pages 243-248, 09.
- Eastwood, Robert & Lipton, Michael & Newell, Andrew, 2010. "Farm Size," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
- World Bank, 2008. "Nicaragua : Poverty Assessment, Volume 1. Main Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8097, The World Bank.
- Raynolds, Laura T., 2009. "Mainstreaming Fair Trade Coffee: From Partnership to Traceability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1083-1093, June.
- Kilian, Bernard & Jones, Connie & Pratt, Lawrence & Villalobos, Andres, 2006. "Is sustainable agriculture a viable strategy to improve farm income in Central America? A case study on coffee," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 322-330, March.
- Bacon, Christopher, 2005. "Confronting the Coffee Crisis: Can Fair Trade, Organic, and Specialty Coffees Reduce Small-Scale Farmer Vulnerability in Northern Nicaragua?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 497-511, March.
- Laura T. Raynolds & Douglas Murray & Peter Leigh Taylor, 2004. "Fair trade coffee: building producer capacity via global networks," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 1109-1121.
- Carter, Michael R, 1984. "Identification of the Inverse Relationship between Farm Size and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Peasant Agricultural Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 131-145, March.
- Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau & Ulrike Grote, 2003. "Eco-Labeling and Stages of Development," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 228-247, 05.
- Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar & Henry, Carla & Lapenu, Cecile, 2006. "An operational method for assessing the poverty outreach performance of development policies and projects: Results of case studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 446-464, March.
- World Bank, 2008. "Nicaragua - Poverty Assessment : Volume 2. Background Paper," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8103, The World Bank.
- Arnould, Eric & Plastina, Alejandro & Ball, Dwayne, 2009. "Does Fair Trade Deliver on Its Core Value Proposition? Effects on Income, Educational Attainment, and Health in Three Countries," Staff General Research Papers Archive 39169, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Gobbi, Jose A., 2000. "Is biodiversity-friendly coffee financially viable? An analysis of five different coffee production systems in western El Salvador," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 267-281, May.
- Peter Leigh Taylor & Douglas L. Murray & Laura T. Raynolds, 2005. "Keeping trade fair: governance challenges in the fair trade coffee initiative," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 199-208.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:7:p:1316-1324. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.