Can fresh produce farmers benefit from global gap certification? The case of lychee producers in Madagascar
It has only been a few years since the private standard GlobalGap has been introduced in the Malagasy lychee value chain. Since the year 2005, under pressure from some European importers, many exporters have chosen to intensify relations with small-scale farmers and have assisted them in achieving GlobalGap certification. Indeed, in contrast with countries where farmers seeking certification have to pay for it, in Madagascar certification costs have been entirely supported by exporters themselves, often with financial support and technical assistance from donors and trade facilitators. This has entailed an unexpected situation, characterized by a boom in the number of certified farmers when development programs started, followed by a disengagement of some exporters, who have chosen to opt out of the GlobalGap compliance process as soon as financial supports ended. Taking advantage of this very specific context in the form of a natural experiment, we aim at understanding potential mechanisms through which Malagasy farmers may benefit from GlobalGap standards and assessing consequences on their marketing performances using original dataset. The results generally do not show any significant impact of certification on prices received by farmers. However, they suggest that certified farmers may have an opportunity to sell larger quantities because of a mechanical interest from exporters or because they are able to improve both quality and quantity by using new infrastructure built for requirements. On average, currently certified producers sell about 4.5 tons, which means 1 ton more than what they would have sold, had they not been uncertified. This estimate appears driven by certified farmers who carry their product to the treatment plant by themselves.
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