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The Cooperative Movement in Bolivia: Fair Trade in Amazzonia Nuts


  • Matilde Casuccio


  • Enrico Giovannetti



The institutions which support fair trade offer solutions capable of combining the benefits of international trade with socially, economically and environmentally sustainable enterprise. The case of the creation of the supply chain for the harvesting and sale of Brazil nuts and its evolution over time is an excellent example of a slow – yet dramatic – social and economic process which began about thirty years ago. Using Social-Economical System approach to the interpretation of social policies capable of using, managing and conserving the commons resources, the paper reveals that full compliance with the principles of cooperation throughout an entire supply chain has succeeded in providing benefits both in economic terms and with regard to the protection of the Amazon rain forest, a strategic natural resource. The supply chain evolved in three crucial phases. The first phase saw the emergence of a modern form of cooperative company – similar to the cooperative firms for the marketing of agricultural produce typical of Italy’s Emilia Region – which formed a network of local communities and individual gatherers. In the second phase, a second cooperative was formed, reinforcing the harvesting, transport and wholesale distribution chain, and finally, the entire supply chain found a market outlet through the action of the retail chains, which on the one hand added the nuts to their product range on a permanent basis, and on the other provided the final consumer with the necessary information about the exact nature of the process and product. Once the chain achieved a good level of operational stability, the reduction in risk for the various segments of the supply chain – especially the final segment, distribution – generated additional benefits for all the stakeholders (reduction in retail prices and an increase in the share of revenues reaching producers).

Suggested Citation

  • Matilde Casuccio & Enrico Giovannetti, 2008. "The Cooperative Movement in Bolivia: Fair Trade in Amazzonia Nuts," Department of Economics 0592, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0592

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Federica Rossi & Paolo Bertossi & Paolo Gurisatti & Luisa Sovieni, 2008. "Incorporating a new technology into agent-artifact space. The case of control systems automation," Department of Economics 506, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    2. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    3. Ostrom, Elinor, 2006. "The value-added of laboratory experiments for the study of institutions and common-pool resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 149-163, October.
    4. Poteete, Amy R. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "In pursuit of comparable concepts and data about collective action," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 215-232, December.
    5. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Ostrom, Elinor, 2004. "What do people bring into the game? Experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 307-326, December.
    6. Elinor Ostrom & Vincent Ostrom, 2004. "Ostrom and Ostrom on the Quest for Meaning in Public Choice," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 105-147, January.
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    More about this item


    Fair Trade; Producer Cooperatives; Supply Chain; Sustainability; Commons;

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • P13 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Cooperative Enterprises
    • Q27 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth


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