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The Economic Sustainability of Certified Coffee: Recent Evidence from Mexico and Peru

  • Barham, Bradford L.
  • Weber, Jeremy G.

Consumers increasingly act on preferences for a more just and sustainable world by purchasing certified agricultural products. Using survey data from coffee growers in Mexico and Peru, we explore the economic sustainability of certified coffee, looking at conventional, Fair Trade/organic, and Rainforest Alliance certified growers. The analysis reveals that yields rather than price premiums are most important for increasing net cash returns for coffee growing households. Given the link between net returns and producer participation in certified coffee schemes, the findings suggest that certification norms that permit improving yields are essential for improving grower welfare and attracting and maintaining growers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1269-1279

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:6:p:1269-1279
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  1. Allen Blackman & Heidi J. Albers & Beatriz �valos-Sartorio & Lisa Crooks Murphy, 2008. "Land Cover in a Managed Forest Ecosystem: Mexican Shade Coffee," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(1), pages 216-231.
  2. Weber, Jeremy G., 2011. "How much more do growers receive for Fair Trade-organic coffee?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 678-685.
  3. Perfecto, Ivette & Vandermeer, John & Mas, Alex & Pinto, Lorena Soto, 2005. "Biodiversity, yield, and shade coffee certification," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 435-446, September.
  4. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
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  7. Kitti, Mitri & Heikkilä, Jaakko & Huhtala, Anni, 2009. "‘Fair’ policies for the coffee trade – protecting people or biodiversity?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(06), pages 739-758, December.
  8. Jeremy G. Weber, 2012. "Social learning and technology adoption: the case of coffee pruning in Peru," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43, pages 73-84, November.
  9. Ninan, K.N. & Sathyapalan, Jyothis, 2005. "The economics of biodiversity conservation: a study of a coffee growing region in the Western Ghats of India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 61-72, October.
  10. 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 39169, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Barham, Bradford L. & Callenes, Mercedez & Gitter, Seth & Lewis, Jessa & Weber, Jeremy, 2011. "Fair Trade/Organic Coffee, Rural Livelihoods, and the "Agrarian Question": Southern Mexican Coffee Families in Transition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 134-145, January.
  12. Beuchelt, Tina D. & Zeller, Manfred, 2011. "Profits and poverty: Certification's troubled link for Nicaragua's organic and fairtrade coffee producers," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1316-1324, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Giovannucci, Daniele & Byers, Alice & Liu, Pascal, 2008. "Adding Value: Certified Coffee Trade in North America," MPRA Paper 17174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Laura Raynolds & Douglas Murray & Andrew Heller, 2007. "Regulating sustainability in the coffee sector: A comparative analysis of third-party environmental and social certification initiatives," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 147-163, June.
  16. 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.
  17. Bacon, Christopher M. & Mendez, Ernesto & Fox, Jonathan A, 2008. "Cultivating Sustainable Coffee: Persistent Paradoxes," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt5hb7421j, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
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