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EU private agrifood standards in African high-value crops: pesticide use and farm-level productivity


  • Asfaw, Solomon
  • Mithofer, Dagmar
  • Waibel, Hermann


In parallel with changes in official standards, supermarket chains in Europe have developed prescriptive, production-oriented standards, e.g. the European Union Retailers Produce Working Group for Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP), and are asking their suppliers for produce to be certified according to food-safety and quality standards. There are concerns that the proliferation and enhanced stringency of standards that are imposed by high-income countries can negatively affect the competitiveness of producers in developing countries and impede actors from entering or even remaining in high-value food markets. Yet, in some cases, others argue that such standards can play a positive role, providing the catalyst and incentives for the modernization of export supply and regulatory systems and the adoption of safer and more sustainable production practices. This article provides an empirical analysis of EU private food-safety standards impact on pesticide use and farm-level productivity among smallholder export vegetable producers in Kenya. We apply an extended three-stage damage control production framework that accounts for multiple endogeneity problems to farm-level data collected from a random cross-section sample of 439 small-scale vegetable producers. Estimation results show that export producers complying with private standards significantly use less toxic pesticides; however there is no significant difference on the total quantity of pesticides used. Contrary to findings elsewhere, the econometric evidences here show that export vegetable farmers in Kenya use pesticide below the economic optimum. The third stage structural revenue model results demonstrate a positive and significant impact of standards adoption on revenue of vegetable production. While food safety and quality standards can be a barrier for resource poor smallholders to maintain their position in the lucrative export markets, they can also induce positive changes in production systems of small-scale farmers who adopt it as shown by the results presented. Generally this article partly supports the notion that adoption of emerging food-safety standards can serve as a catalyst in transforming the production systems of developing countries towards safer and more sustainable production.

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  • Asfaw, Solomon & Mithofer, Dagmar & Waibel, Hermann, 2008. "EU private agrifood standards in African high-value crops: pesticide use and farm-level productivity," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44145, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:44145

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patricia Augier & Michael Gasiorek & Charles Lai Tong, 2005. "The impact of rules of origin on trade flows," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 567-624, July.
    2. Jaffee, Steven & Henson, Spencer, 2004. "Standards and agro-food exports from developing countries: rebalancing the debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3348, The World Bank.
    3. Wilson, Clevo & Tisdell, Clem, 2001. "Why farmers continue to use pesticides despite environmental, health and sustainability costs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 449-462, December.
    4. Erik Lichtenberg & David Zilberman, 1986. "The Econometrics of Damage Control: Why Specification Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(2), pages 261-273.
    5. Maertens, Miet & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2006. "Standards as Barriers and Catalysts for Trade and Poverty Reduction," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25772, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
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    High-value crops; food-safety standards; productivity; Crop Production/Industries;

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