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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Barham, Bradford L. & Weber, Jeremy G., 2012. "The Economic Sustainability of Certified Coffee: Recent Evidence from Mexico and Peru," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1269-1279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:6:p:1269-1279
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.11.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    15. 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.
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