Effects of participation in organic markets and farmer-based organizations on adoption of soil conservation practices among small-scale farmers in Honduras
Conservation agriculture is often perceived to provide “win-win” outcomes for farmers leading to reduced erosion and off-site sedimentation, as well as improved soil fertility and productivity. However, adoption rates for conservation agriculture in many regions of the world remain below expected levels. This paper looks at the effect of organic markets in providing incentives for farmers to adopt soil conservation practices based on the willingness of consumers to pay a price premium for the use of sustainable production technologies. Farmer-based organizations may help farmers overcome information deficiencies with respect to production processes as well as consumer preferences. Based on original survey data from 241 small-scale farm households in Honduras, we find that both participation in organic markets as well as in farmer-based groups have positive effects on the number of soil conservation practices adopted on the farm. The results indicate that besides supply-oriented policy measures, such as the provision of technical assistance and extension, demand-related factors are likely to play an important role in sustainable soil management. Demand-oriented policy measures can include support for labeling initiatives and consumer education to facilitate value-added product differentiation and market segmentation.
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