The Impact of Coffee Certification on Small-Scale Producers’ Livelihoods: Evidence from Ethiopia
What is the impact of product certification on small-scale farmers’ livelihoods? To what extent does the participation of Ethiopian small-scale coffee farmers in certified local cooperative structures improve their socio-economic situation? To answer these questions, this paper employs household data of 249 coffee farmers from six different cooperatives collected in the Jimma zone of Southwestern Ethiopia in 2009. Findings show that the certification of coffee cooperatives has in total a low impact on small-scale coffee producers’ livelihoods mainly due to (1) low productivity, (2) an insignificant price premium, and (3) poor access to credit and information from the cooperative. Differences in production and organizational capacities between the local cooperatives are mirrored in the extent of the certification benefits for the smallholders. ‘Good’ cooperatives have reaped the benefits of certification, whereas ‘bad’ ones did not fare well. In this regard the “cooperative effect” overlies the “certification effect”.
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